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Macron Vows 'Deep Change' In French Politics

  • VOA News

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a special congress gathering both houses of parliament (National Assembly and Senate) in the palace of Versailles, outside Paris, July 3, 2017.

French president Emmanuel Macron vowed to uphold his campaign promises to bring about deep changes in France during a joint parliamentary session Monday at the Palace of Versailles.

One of his first measures would be to lift the state of emergency that has been in place in France since 2015, but he promised to harden permanent security measures to fight Islamic extremism and other threats.

Macron said his government "will work to prevent any new attack, and we will work to fight [the assailants] without pity, without regrets, without weakness."

He also stressed the need to "guarantee full respect for individual liberties" amid concerns that tougher security measures would give police officers too much power.

The recently-elected president spoke on the promise of Europe as well, saying that he understood why many people were skeptical of the European Union, but that he deeply believed in its future. Macron announced a Europe-wide public conferences later this year aimed at reinvigorating the bloc, especially following Britain's exit.

Macron also addressed France's political system, proposing to cut the number of seats in parliament by one third among other measures that would make the lawmaking process more efficient.

He promised to pass the cuts to parliamentary seats within a year, or to hold a public referendum on the issue should it not pass.

Three parties boycotted the event, criticizing Macron's "presidential monarchy".

Macron's relatively new party won a sweeping majority in parliamentary elections with record-low voter turnout, leading to fears that he and his "Republique en Marche" party hold too much power in Paris. Critics also said the event was too extravagant and costly.

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