Hollande drops plan to revoke citizenship of terror convicts

French President Francois Hollande says he has decided to abandon plan to make constitutional changes aimed at revoking citizenship of convicted 'terrorists'

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

French President Francois Hollande leaves after a speech on constitutional reform and the fight against terrorism at the end of a weekly cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, March 30, 2016.

Updated Mar 31, 2016

France's President Francois Hollande has dropped plans to make changes the country’s constitution, including a clause allowing convicted "terrorists" to be stripped of their French nationality, after members of parliament  could not agree on the measure, he announced on Wesnesday.

Hollande's plan to insert into the constitution the rules for a state of emergency was also abandoned.

"Parts of the opposition have been hostile to a revision of the constitution. I deplore this attitute," he said after a weekly cabinet meeting.

"I have decided to end this debate."

The initiative was first introduced three days after the DAESH terror attacks in Paris that claimed 130 lives on November 13, 2015.

However, calling the proposed measures "purely symbolic" and "inefficient," some lawmakers said they would create a division between citizens as dual nationals who could lose their French citizenship and French citizens who cannot, which is against France’s principle of equality.

Some critics also expressed their fears that the constitutional change would stigmatise French Muslims of North African descent and create an environment for recruitment by terrorist organisations such as DAESH.

Months-long discussions followed the first objections by lawmakers and led the opposition-controlled upper house of parliament to approve a different version of the proposal instead of the one the Socialist-controlled lower house had passed earlier.

According to French law any proposal from the government needs to be backed by both houses of parliament.

The proposal was criticised by many on the left of the ruling Socialist Party, leading conservative senator and former prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin to say that "The president’s authority over his own troops is being challenged."

Earlier this year, Hollande’s Justice Minister Christiane Taubira resigned after stong divisions on the issue surfaced in the party.

Hollande said even if the reform plans are dropped, his final decision would not "deviate from the commitments he has taken to ensure the security of France."

TRTWorld and agencies