PARIS, France, Jan 27 – French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira quit Wednesday, apparently in protest at government moves to push through a measure that would strip convicted French-born terrorists of their citizenship if they have a second nationality.
Taubira, a popular figure among the governing Socialists of President Francois Hollande but a target of criticism for the right-wing Republicans, tweeted: “Sometimes to resist means staying, sometimes resisting means leaving.”
Hollande named Jean-Jacques Urvoas, the current president of the parliamentary laws commission, as Taubira’s successor to “carry out… the constitutional reform”, according to a justice ministry statement.
The French president called for the “loss of nationality” measure to be written into the constitution in the aftermath of the November jihadist attacks in Paris which left 130 people dead.
It is part of a string of measures meant to boost security as hundreds of French citizens — many holding dual nationality — leave to fight alongside the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, and in the case of the attackers, return to wreak devastation in France.
“Removing French nationality from those who blindly kill other French in the name of an ideology of terror is a strong symbolic act against those who have excluded themselves from the national community,” Prime Minister Manuel Valls said after the measure was announced.
However the proposal has been deeply divisive, and put Taubira at loggerheads with her own government.
Just a day before the reforms were presented, Taubira announced the citizenship measure would be dropped because it was discriminatory, only to be overruled at the last minute by Hollande.
The reforms also aim to inscribe the right to declare a state of emergency into the constitution, including powers to raid homes and place people under house arrest without judicial oversight.
Parliament will start debating the reforms in early February.
Government’s plans to extend a current three-month state of emergency — which expires on February 26 — have been criticised by rights activists.