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France: controversial reforms clear first hurdle

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France: controversial reforms clear first hurdle



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  • Government proposal narrowly approved
  • Critics condemn a “symbolic” gesture
  • Follow-on vote on Wednesday

The news

Francois Hollande’s controversial plan to strip French citizenship from people convicted of terrorism has cleared its first hurdle in parliament.

The lower house of parliament backed controversial proposals introduced after 130 people died in the attacks in Paris last November.

France’s National Assembly voted by 162-148 to write a clause into the country’s constitution that would strip the passports from anyone found guilty of such an offence.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls welcomed the result of the vote.

“We will hold another vote tomorrow. I think approval will be broader and the constitutional reform will go ahead.”

The recent resignation of Justice Minister Christine Taubira over the plans and disagreement among other members of the governing Socialist Party raised doubts about the constitutional changes being adopted.

What happens now?

A follow-up vote is scheduled for Wednesday. The lower house will reaffirm the vote.

In order the change the constitution, the government’s plan will need to be approved by the upper house or Senate.

It will then require final approval by a three-fifths majority of both houses.

Experts say this is likely to take weeks.

Why is there opposition?

The result of the vote, while tight, has not completely defused concerns of a rebellion within the Socialist Party itself.

Many politicians, including prominent members of the left-wing, think it is ineffective.

They say it is a purely symbolic gesture as France attempts to tackle the threat of terrorism.

Critics also say the planned law could potentially stigmatise French citizens with dual nationality, such as those from former French colonies in Africa.

Under international law, governments cannot make citizens stateless.

In pictures and in tweets

What they are saying

“With 130 people being killed, we made a commitment never to behave like small-minded politicians in the face of such tragedy.”Nicolas Sarkozy, former French president.


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