France aim­ing to ex­tend the state of emer­gency

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

PARIS: The French gov­ern­ment an­nounced plans yes­ter­day to ex­tend a na­tional state of emer­gency un­til af­ter elec­tions next year, cit­ing a height­ened risk of ji­hadist at­tacks co­in­cid­ing with polls. The se­cu­rity mea­sures-in force since at­tacks in Paris that killed 130 peo­ple in Novem­ber 2015 — will be de­bated in par­lia­ment Tues­day be­fore their ex­pected ap­proval by the Se­nate on Thurs­day.

“This elec­toral cam­paign pe­riod, which nat­u­rally in­cludes nu­mer­ous pub­lic meet­ings and ral­lies, will also un­for­tu­nately in­cur an in­creased risk of at­tacks,” said newly-ap­pointed French Prime Min­is­ter Bernard Cazeneuve. The state of emer­gency-which gives po­lice ex­tended pow­ers of search and ar­rest-has al­ready been re­newed four times.

France was also left in mourn­ing in July this year af­ter a Tu­nisian ji­hadist rammed a truck through a crowd of Bastille Day rev­ellers in the city of Nice, killing 86 peo­ple. France will hold pres­i­den­tial elec­tions in April-May 2017 and leg­isla­tive polls in June. The state of emer­gency must “en­com­pass all elec­toral op­er­a­tions” Cazeneuve said at a meet­ing of the French cab­i­net, warn­ing of the dan­ger of those “who want to strike at the heart of our demo­cratic val­ues and repub­li­can prin­ci­ples.”

The ex­ten­sion un­til July 15 would also al­low a new pres­i­dent-in­cum­bent Fran­cois Hol­lande is not seek­ing re-elec­tion-to as­sess se­cu­rity and pro­long the state of emer­gency if nec­es­sary, Cazeneuve added. Hol­lande’s ten­ure has been marred by the three ma­jor Is­lamist-in­spired ter­ror at­tacks-against Charlie Hebdo mag­a­zine in Jan­uary 2015, then in Paris the fol­low­ing Novem­ber and in Nice. Cazeneuve, the for­mer in­te­rior min­is­ter who co­or­di­nated the in­tro­duc­tion of the state of emer­gency, took over as prime min­is­ter on Tues­day af­ter Manuel Valls stepped down to seek the So­cial­ist nom­i­na­tion for the pres­i­dency.

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