French presidential candidates woo rioters

The demographics are what they are. Like it or not, les banlieues could swing this election. Coming soon to French bumper stickers: “I’m a car-torching, cop-beating, gang-rapist — and I vote.”

Young people branded “scum” in 2005 this year offer an electoral prize, as an approaching presidential election draws politicians to France’s riot-hit suburbs on the hunt for votes.

Even conservative presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy — who dismissed angry youths as thugs — has joined Socialist Segolene Royal in hiring rappers and actors to court young voters from France’s poor neighborhoods, the ‘banlieues’…

Even far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen has produced a new campaign poster, which — rather than featuring a portrait of himself — shows a young woman of immigrant background.

They’re leaning towards the socialist. Of course.