• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
France scraps plan to strip jihadists of French nationality
Photo: AFP

France scraps plan to strip jihadists of French nationality

The Local/AFP · 30 Mar 2016, 12:24

Published: 30 Mar 2016 12:24 GMT+02:00

Hollande finally caved in on Thursday after realizing he would not have enough support from within his own Socialist party to push through the constitutional reform.

While his plan to enshrine emergency powers in the constitution, like those brought in after the Paris terror attacks, received enough cross-party support, the move to strip convicted terrorists of the French passports was divisive.

"A compromise appears out of reach," Hollande said after the two houses of parliament failed to agree on the reforms that the president tabled just days after 130 people were killed by terrorists, some of whom had dual French nationality.

"I also note that a section of the opposition is hostile to any constitutional revision. I deeply regret this attitude," he said.

Hollande pledged that despite dropping the reform plans, he would not "deviate from the commitments I have taken... to ensure the security of our country.

"The threat remains higher than ever," said Hollande.

"Islamist terrorism has declared war against us, against France, Europe, the entire world."

Any reforms to France's constitution have to be given the backing by three fifths of all lawmakers - MPs and Senators - at a special Congress of Versailles that was due to be held next month. But with Wednesday's U-turn Hollande will no longer need to summon the Congress.

Without enough support Hollande faced the prospect of an embarrassing defeat which would have surely scuppered any remaining chances he had of being re-elected in 2017.

Hollande's announcement after a cabinet meeting brings to an end months of debate on a reform for which he was widely criticized by members of his own party, for whom he is far from popular. Former Justice Minister Christiane Taubira resigned because she could not support the stripping of citizenships from convicted French jihadists.

However, opinion polls suggested the move did have wide support among the public.

Most critics said the measure would do little to prevent terror attacks, while others pointed out it would make matters worse by stigmatizing sections of the population - notably Muslims of North African descent - and may push them into hands of extremists.

Rights groups also criticized the plan to enshrine draconian powers under the state of emergency, but Hollande and his PM Manuel Valls argued it was an essential step to protect the nation at a time when France could face another jihadist attack.

Those on the right supported the move, which had long been backed by the far-right National Front. 

The leader of the far-right National Front (FN), Marine Le Pen, said Hollande's decision to scrap the constitutional reform was "a historical failure".

"Francois Hollande fails to have his own words taken seriously. He and his government are the only ones responsible for this failure," Le Pen said.

Hollande came close to dropping the plan to strip jihadists of the nationality once before, but was forced to push ahead with it when it emerged if he did then right-wing lawmakers would not back his second wish -  to enshrine emergency powers in the constitution.

Story continues below…

The plan to enshrine emergency powers in the constitution, such as a ban on protests and the power to carry out house searches and impose house arrest orders without judicial oversight, was also widely criticized.

Amnesty International was particularly unimpressed with France's response to the January and November terror attacks in Paris, referring to the reaction as "liberticide" (killing off freedom).

That criticism was echoed by many other organizations and UN experts.

Many pointed out that France already had the necessary legal means to impose emergency powers so there was no need to change the constitution.

 

 

The Local/AFP (news.france@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
New app aims to rid Paris pavements of dog poo
Photo: ByeBye Crottoir

No need to watch your step anymore, says this French engineer behind a new app called "Bye Bye Pavement Dog Poo"

Calls in France for English to be ditched as EU language
Photo: AFP

Some in France suggest it's time to end the dominance of English as the EU's working language, now that the UK has voted to leave the union.

Seven tips for selling your house in France
Photo: AFP

After the Brexit referendum there is already talk of British expats in France considering selling up. Here are seven tips put together by an expert.

British businesses in France told to keep calm and carry on
Brits celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday at the British embassy in Paris. Photo: UK in France/Flickr

Brits running their own businesses have been told that despite the Brexit vote, it should be "business as usual".

Paris thieves pilfer luxury watches worth €3 million
Photo: AFP

Another multi-million robbery in the chic heart of Paris.

Price of Paris monthly transport pass to rise
Photo: AFP

Commuting in Paris is set to get pricier.

Opinion - Brexit
Why a Brexit would be a 'windfall' for France
Photo: AFP

A Brexit wouldn't mean the "apocalypse" the doomsdayers are predicting, it would actually be a "tremendous opportunity" for France.

Post Brexit: Paris and London vow to cooperate not compete
Sadiq Khan and Anne Hidalgo vow to work together. Photo: AFP

The mayors of Paris and London have vowed to work together in order to shape the 21st century.

Voters give green light to new airport in western France
Photo: AFP

Will this finally mark the end of years of wrangling and protests?

'We can handle Brexit' insist Hollande and Merkel
Photo: AFP

France and Germany say they are on the same page when it comes to handling the fallout of last week's shock Brexit vote.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Mixed reaction from the French as UK votes for Brexit
National
How Brexit could now scupper that dream move to France
Brexit limbo: What happens next for Brits in France?
Gallery
Ten reasons why you should think about becoming French
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Analysis & Opinion
Brexit: Life for Brits in France 'will get more complicated'
Culture
20 English words that 'should be banished' from French
National
Best Briehaviour: A guide to French cheese etiquette
Features
And the best city in France for expats to live in is...?
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Society
Forget bikes, Paris is set to roll out scooter rentals
National
'We fear for our safety': French police feel the strain
Lifestyle
Why Rennes (and not Paris) is the best city in France for expats to live
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Why are the French losing appetite for baguettes?
Lifestyle
Naturism booms in France as young eager to ditch clothes
Lifestyle
Is working life better in London or Paris?
National
Dear Americans: Please come to Paris
National
It's official (kind of): French work fewest hours in EU
And the best football fans of Euro 2016 in France are?
National
Paris has wettest spring in 100 years and it's hitting morale
Police murders remind France of complexity of terror threat
National
IN PICTURES: Labour law protests in Paris turn ugly
National
Double murder just latest jihadist attack on French police and soldiers
International
French police appear unprepared for hooligan threat at Euro 2016
Sport
An A to Z guide of what to expect in France for Euro 2016
2,726
jobs available