French press review 24 December 2015


French Press divided over President Hollande's plans to enshrine the state of emergency in the constitution and his drive to strip people convicted of terrorist offences of their French citizenship, in the wake of last month's Paris attacks.


Prime Minister Valls who is sponsoring the reform said more than 1,000  French citizens have join the jihad in Syria and Iraq, and 250 radicalized Islamists have since returned to the country as justification for the landmark reform.

The Catholic daily La Croix reports that a dozen terrorists recently stripped of their French nationality still reside in the mainland where they are being held under house arrest pending the passage of the legislation on their expulsion.

According to the paper, detractors of the draft law denounce it as a breach of the principle of equality enshrined in the constitution and an attack on the cohesion of the nation.

Some publications which have brought the over-arching implications of the draft reform under scrutiny warn that the estimated 3.5 million French citizens with a second nationality will feel targeted by the piece of legislation.

That was amid growing discomfort from the left-wing fringes of the ruling Socialist party about the abuse of special policing powers used under the state of emergency -- such as house arrests and the right to raid houses without judicial oversight -- and the risks of the measures being challenged at the constitutional court.

More so, Justice Minister Christiane Taubira voiced doubts over the citizenship clause and wrongly stated it would be dropped, before President Francois Hollande had the final word.

In today's editorial, Le Figaro's Paul-Henri du Limbert pays a rare tribute to President Francois Hollande for reinstating the nationality stripping clause in the draft legislation. According to the right-wing newspaper's managing editor, Hollande, who loves taking people by surprise most of the time for the worse reasons, is right for once and deserved being congratulated.

Nicolas Beytout who edits the conservative L’Opinion differs.

From his point of view, the proposed legislation is nothing more than a symbolic measure which ironically serves the agenda pursued by terrorists which is basically about pushing the country to emergency rule and inciting divisions between the French people as they struggle to deal with the lurking threat. That's exactly what the stripping of the nationality of dual citizens will bring to the French people, says the paper.

“It's a question of principle”, rages Laurent Joffrin Libération's director. He upholds that Christiane Taubira’s clumsy remarks and Hollande’s equally dreadful reversal are causing deep discontent in the Left, as influential voices in the President’s electorate  believe the reform deviates from the real imperatives of the fight against terrorism.

L'Humanité editor Patrick Apel-Mulle is inconsolable, accusing President Hollande of repudiating the fruit of two centuries of struggle for an egalitarian Republic by the French left.

According to the Communist party newspaper’s boss, by enshrining the state of emergency into the constitution, the President and his Prime Minister have simply capitulated to the security-driven ideology which has been an electoral bait for the conservative opposition for decades.




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