Speaking in Paris on Wednesday at her first campaign rally, Green presidential candidate Eva Joly argued that national holiday status should be accorded to the Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Fitr and the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur.
Currently six of the 12 national holidays in France are Catholic calendar events, with the other six having no religious connotation.
"Each religion should benefit from equal treatment in the public sphere," she said. "I believe that national holidays should also be accorded to faiths other than the Catholic faith." Describing religious equality as a "key element" of French identity, she then blamed the policies of President Nicolas Sarkozy for dividing religious communities. "Yes, I'll say it," she said. "This [suffering] has been caused by five years of Sarkozy-ism."