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French Minister Steps Down Amid Terror Row

  • VOA News

Outgoing French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira (L) reacts to her staff members near newly-appointed French Justice Minister Jean-Jacques Urvoas (R) during a handover ceremony at the Justice Ministry in Paris, Jan. 27, 2016.

Outgoing French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira (L) reacts to her staff members near newly-appointed French Justice Minister Jean-Jacques Urvoas (R) during a handover ceremony at the Justice Ministry in Paris, Jan. 27, 2016.

France's justice minister stepped down Wednesday after objecting to a government move to revoke citizenship from convicted French-born terrorists if they have a second nationality.

The Elysee Palace announced in a statement that President Francois Hollande accepted Christiane Taubira's resignation, just ahead of a Cabinet meeting, and hours before a Parliament commission debate on the citizenship bill.

She is being replaced by Jean-Jacques Urvoas, a lawmaker who is considered a specialist on security issues within the Socialist Party and a close associate of Prime Minister Manuel Valls. Taubira had friction in the past with with center-leaning Valls.

Taubira, a politician from French Guiana on the Caribbean coast, has been an advocate for women and minorities in French politics.

Divisive issue

The citizenship bill introduced after Paris attacks on November 13, 2015, which killed 130 and wounded more than 350 people, is popular among conservatives and the far right politicians but is especially divisive for the governing Socialists.

Polls show that most French support the bill, but opponents fear it would unfairly target Muslims. Some compare it to the revocation of citizenship of French Jews during World War II.

Taubira was scheduled to travel Wednesday to the United States, where she was to meet with Attorney General Loretta Lynch and members of Black Lives Matter. She also was to receive an honorary degree from the University of Wisconsin.

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