Hollande backs down on plans to revoke French citizenship for convicted attackers

Published March 30th, 2016 - 04:00 GMT
French President Francois Hollande delivers a speech at the end of the weekly cabinet meeting on March 30, 2016 at the Elysee Presidential Palace in Paris. (AFP/Stephane de Sakutin)
French President Francois Hollande delivers a speech at the end of the weekly cabinet meeting on March 30, 2016 at the Elysee Presidential Palace in Paris. (AFP/Stephane de Sakutin)

French President François Hollande has dropped controversial plans to change the constitution; plans which included a clause allowing attackers convicted on "terrorism" charges to be stripped of their French nationality, if they are dual nationals.

Solo French nationals were not included in the proposed bill.

The decision came after France’s two houses of parliament failed to agree on the proposed reforms.

“A compromise appears out of reach,” Hollande said of the outcome.

“Parts of the opposition have been hostile to a revision of the constitution. I deplore this attitude,” he continued. “I have decided to end this debate.”

It’s a huge setback for the Socialist president, who suggested the measure three days after the November 13 terror attacks in Paris.

Claimed by the Daesh militant group, the series of coordinated bombings and shootings killed 130 people.

The withdrawal of the plan ends months of heated debate on the subject, with critics dismissing it as inefficient and purely symbolic.

Also included in the plan — and, therefore, to be dropped — was Hollande’s proposal to add rules for a state of emergency to the French constitution.

A clause for confiscating passports was brought to an abrupt halt last week. The opposition-controlled upper house of parliament approved a different version of it to that adopted earlier by the Socialist-controlled lower house.

Changing the constitution requires three-fifths of both houses of parliament to approve the government’s proposal in exactly the same terms.

Hollande had, initially appeared resolute about the suggested amendments to the constitution. The measure was favoured by the right and MPs gave him a standing ovation when he put forward the proposal at a rare, joint meeting of the lower and upper houses.


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