French justice minister resigns over anti-terrorism proposals

French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira resigned from the cabinet, the Elysee Palace said Wednesday, shortly before a parliamentary debate on controversial anti-terrorism measures was set to begin.

Taubira had expressed her opposition to some aspects of the measures under consideration, which include a proposal to strip dual nationals of their French citizenship if they are convicted of terrorism-related activities.

"Sometimes to resist is to remain, sometimes to resist is to leave," Taubira wrote on social media site Twitter on Wednesday morning. She had expressed her disapproval of the proposal for weeks, but had said "the first and last word is with the president."

Taubira has been hailed as a staunch representative of the left. In a statement, French President Francois Hollande celebrated her work to legalize same-sex marriage.

Taubira, who was born in French Guiana and has been the target of racist insults during her time in public office, was scheduled to travel to the US on Wednesday to meet with representatives of the Black Lives Matter movement and Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

The Elysee said Hollande had appointed Jean-Jacques Urvoas as the new justice minister. Urvoas is close to Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who has championed the anti-terrorism measures.

A commission in the National Assembly will discuss the measures, before a broader parliamentary debate. They are aimed at extending some of the extraordinary powers granted to the executive in the current state of emergency.

Under the current three-month state of emergency, which has been in place since Islamic State-affiliated terrorists killed 130 people in a night of coordinated terror on November 13, existing laws have been used to conduct administrative searches and bolster border controls.

Critics have said the plan would expand the authority of police and central government at the risk of curtailing independent judiciary powers.

Last update: Wed, 27/01/2016 - 14:51
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