President François Hollande announced on Wednesday that he will not proceed with a proposal to amend the constitution.
The change would have allowed for stripping people who hold a dual citizenship with France that have been convicted of terrorism of their French nationality.
Hollande proposed the idea three days after the terror attacks on Paris on November 13th. Changing the constitution would have required the approval of three-fifths of both houses of parliament during the same terms.
Even though there was pretty much unanimous agreement that the proposal would have little practical value in protecting France from terrorism, it attracted initial support from the right and fierce opposition from the left, including the governing Socialist party, in the country. The debate has been so intense it led to the resignation of the justice minister. Once the shock of the attacks wore off, support for the plan did as well.
“A compromise appears out of reach” said Hollande.
“I take note that part of the opposition is against all constitutional revision. I deplore, profoundly, this attitude, because we must do all we can under the current serious conditions to avoid division.”
Critics of the idea said it was reminiscent of the days in World War II when the French government cooperated with the Nazi regime and stripped hundreds of French-Jews of their nationality. They also attacked the fact that the policy would only apply to dual citizens, believing it would create a two-tier mentality towards citizenship. They pointed out a solely French citizen was just as capable of a terror attack as a dual citizen. Indeed, many of the perpetrators of the November attacks were Belgian citizens.