Excerpt:

As France's right-wing Republicans punish a leading figure over her comments about race, the party is facing a tricky balancing act in trying to pinch far-right votes without losing moderate supporters.

Nadine Morano, once a close ally of former president Nicolas Sarkozy, was struck off a list of candidates for upcoming regional elections by party bosses on Wednesday over her comments that France was a "Judeo-Christian country... of white race".

The uproar over her statements has highlighted the difficult balance Sarkozy must strike as head of The Republicans, trying to sound tough on immigration, Islam and security without losing the all-important middle ground.


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