French lawmakers vote for constitution change to fight terrorism

By Shawn Price  |  Feb. 11, 2016 at 12:27 AM
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PAR, France, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- French lawmakers voted Wednesday in support of changing their constitution to better fight terrorism.

The amendment passed 317-199 in the National Assembly -- or lower house of Parliament -- and will be reviewed by the Senate next month. Many left-wing MPs voted against the move and it's unclear if all the proposed changes would become law, even in the months after the terror attacks in Paris.

Most conservatives supported the bill, however 74 still voted against it.

Included in the amendment is controversial measure to strip convicted terrorists of their French citizenship.

Human rights groups warned it could institute discrimination against immigrants. If enacted, leaving a person without a country could be a violation of international law.

Another proposed measure would allow French law enforcement greater powers during a state of emergency.

The bill will still need the support of three fifths of the Congress and Prime Minister Manuel Valls said he was pleased with the vote and was sure the changes to the constitution would get a majority.

President Francois Hollande said he wanted to change the constitution to better fight terrorism after jihadists killed 130 people in the French capital Nov. 13. If the bill hadn't passed, it might have dealt a serious blow to Hollande's re-election bid for 2017.

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