PRESIDENT Francois Hollande lost a left-wing fig leaf for his increasingly neoliberal government yesterday when Justice Minister Christiane Taubira resigned over plans to strip citizenship from dual-nationality convicted terrorists.
Ms Taubira, who hails from French Guiana and was acclaimed for championing legalisation of same-sex marriage, tweeted that “sometimes to resist is to remain, sometimes to resist is to leave.”
Her left-wing leanings have put her increasingly at odds with official policy, especially after the November 13 murderous attacks in Paris when the president announced a tougher line on terrorism.
A communique from the Elysee Palace said that Mr Hollande had accepted the minister’s decision to resign.
“They agreed on the need to bring her role to an end at a time when debate on constitutional revision begins in the national assembly today,” the statement read.
The revision includes the power to declare a state of emergency under the constitution, which would make it easier for the government to adopt strict powers such as police raids and house arrests.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls aims to extend the three-month state of emergency imposed in November when it expires on February 26.
The new justice minister is Jean-Jacques Urvoas from Brittany, who is considered a security specialist and is close to Mr Valls.
The government citizenship Bill, which was a knee-jerk reaction to the Paris terrorist attacks, is popular among conservatives and the racist far right but has divided Socialist Party supporters.
Opponents fear unfair targeting of Muslims, while some compare it to the revocation of citizenship of French Jews during World War II.
Ms Taubira had voiced distaste for the plan to strip joint citizens of their French citizenship, arguing that it “would not help the fight against terrorism in any way.” She said the plan was being dropped only for it be announced then by Mr Valls who called it a “strong symbolic act against those who have excluded themselves from the national community.”
Ms Taubira had planned to travel to the US yesterday, where she was to meet Attorney General Loretta Lynch and members of the Black Lives Matter movement and receive an honorary degree from the University of Wisconsin.