French Interior Minister Claude Gueant, a hardliner close to President Nicolas Sarkozy, came under fire again Saturday for the second time in a month for comments deemed racist by liberals.

At a meeting late Friday in support of Sarkozy's bid for a new term as president, Gueant condemned proposals by the president's socialist opponent Francois Hollande to give the vote in local elections to immigrants.

"We don't want foreign town councillors making halal food obligatory in canteen meals .... or regulating mixed bathing in swimming pools," Gueant told an audience near Nancy in eastern France.

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