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French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira resigns after terror law row

AFP / Stephane De Sakutin | France's Justice Minister Christiane Taubira has resigned, an official statement from resident François Hollande’s office said Wednesday January 27, 2016

Christiane Taubira, the French Justice Minister who has been an outspoken critic of government plans to strip French nationality from dual-citizens who are convicted of terrorism, has resigned, President François Hollande’s office said Wednesday.

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Hollande and Taubira agreed on her need to leave her post, the official statement said.

She will be replaced by Jean-Jacques Urvoas, MP for the Finistère department in Brittany, it said.

No official reason for the resignation was given, but it is likely to be related to Taubira’s open criticism of Hollande’s proposal made in the wake of the November 13 Paris terror attacks to revoke French citizenship from dual nationals convicted of terrorism.

Taubira, 63, told iTele news channel in early January that she was staunchly against a move she considered “completely useless” in combating the radicalisation of French nationals. It was not the first time she clashed with the government on the specific issue.

At the UN in February, she stressed the importance of targeting poverty and injustice in combating the spread of terrorism.

'Resistance'

“The timing might be a surprise but the writing has been on the wall for a long, long time,” said FRANCE 24’s political affairs editor Marc Perelman.

“She’s in disagreement with the government on several issues pertaining to human rights … especially on this very controversial issue of stripping citizenship from those convicted of terrorism.”

Shortly after her resignation was announced, Taubira said on her Twitter account: "Sometimes you remain in place to resist. Sometimes resisting means you go."

As justice chief, the charismatic Taubira was supposed to be in charge of convincing members of parliament to vote for the constitutional amendments needed to turn the proposal into law.

A debate on the issue is due to take place in the National Assembly later Wednesday.
Taubira, a veteran politician and razor-sharp orator from French Guiana, has been a popular member of the Socialist government and is credited as being a driving force behind the legalisation of gay marriage in France 2013.

“She carried out justice reform with conviction, determination and talent and played a major role in the adoption of the marriage for all [gay marriage] law,” said statement from Hollande’s office.

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