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France

Foreigners to vote in elections if Socialist Hollande becomes French president

AFP PHOTO PATRICK KOVARIK
2 min

François Hollande, the Socialist candidate and favourite to win French presidential elections this spring, unveiled his programme in Paris on Thursday.

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Hollande has moved on to the next phase of his campaign, following his first major public meeting on Sunday, widely judged to be a success.

He has been attacked for being too vague about his plans for France and hopes that his 60 propositions outlined today will silence such criticisms.

His proposal to allow non-EU citizens who have lived legally in France for 5 years to vote in local elections is an old one, first espoused by Socialist François Mitterand, it will probably earn him a few votes among French citizens from immigrant backgrounds.

But Hollande stopped short of allowing non-EU citizens to stand in local councils, an idea backed by left-wing Senators in a recent vote.

He promised a tough line on illegal immigration, and said long-term illegal immigrants who applied to have their situation regularised, would be treated on a case by case basis.

He repeated his controversial pledge to create 60 thousand new jobs in education, and plans to create jobs for young people in deprived areas.

He estimates the cost of his programme; which also includes health, law and order, housing and business reforms, to be 20 billion euros, maintaining that by closing tax loopholes the state will net 29 billion euros.

Hollande repeated that he would “renegotiate” the fiscal pact thrashed out in Brussels in mid-December to put greater emphasis on growth and jobs, including a role for the European Central Bank, though he will face stiff opposition from Germany in both areas.

 

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