Changes would shield emergency powers, strip some French-born terrorists of their citizenship
A year bookended by terror attacks is forcing France to reconsider some of the principles that underpin its national identity.
On Wednesday, the Socialist government of President François Hollande proposed amending the constitution to allow authorities to strip some natural-born citizens of their nationality if they are convicted of terrorism.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Wednesday
that constitutional change was necessary to protect
France from the threat of French citizens returning
home from Islamic State territory to mount terror
attacks. Photo: Reuters
Another amendment would shield state-of-emergency police powers, such as to conduct warrantless searches and order house arrests, from court challenges.
The changes, which parliament is expected to approve next year, are a measure of how the French state—founded on the ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity—is adapting to the threat posed by Islamic State and other extremist groups.
“People wonder at times who we are, as French people, as a nation,” Prime Minister Manuel Valls said in introducing the measure, which he said carries great symbolism. “I understand its implications and the debates that may ensue.”
France fought a bloody revolution in pursuit of a secular republic open to all who respect its founding principles. In recent decades, the country threw its doors open to waves of migrants from former colonies in North Africa, becoming host to Europe’s biggest Muslim population. France also was a driving force behind the European Union and its common currency with Germany, dissolving national borders.
Part of the problem facing France now, lawmakers and officials say, is that it went to war against Islamic State—joining U.S. airstrikes in Iraq in late 2014, and in Syria a year later—without battening down the hatches at home.Read the rest of the story HERE.
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