French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says he is to leave the country’s government amid prospect of wider changes within the administration.
The top diplomat made the announcement on Wednesday, affirming general speculation that had been going on about the issue, Reuters reported.
Fabius would be attending his final cabinet meeting in the coming hours and is to be named the head of the country’s top constitutional court, the Constitutional Council, by President Francois Hollande later in the day.
The development came only a day after French lawmakers narrowly voted to amend the constitution to strip people convicted of terrorist offences of their French nationality. Hollande proposed the mechanism, as well as other measures, in the wake of deadly terror attacks in and around the capital, Paris, on November 13, 2015.
Late last month, French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira stepped down in protest at the plan to strip convicted terrorists of their citizenship.
On Monday, the lawmakers also voted to include the process of declaring a state of emergency in the constitution and give further power to security forces. They will vote on all of Hollande’s proposed measures on Wednesday.
Civil rights groups have, however, criticized any potential changes to the country’s constitution, citing the violence in police raids, cases of mistaken identity, and people losing their jobs because of being placed under house arrest.
London-based rights group Amnesty International has slammed the constitutional reforms, calling them “deeply worrying,” adding that police were already using an “extensive and sometimes disproportionate arsenal” of measures.
If Hollande’s package of measures is passed in the lower house of the parliament—the National Assembly— on Wednesday, it will be put to the vote in the upper house, the Senate, before it can be enshrined in the constitution.
The Constitutional Court, whose presidency now awaits Fabius, is most importantly dutied to see whether proposed statutes conform with the Constitution.
Fabius’ departure is, meanwhile, expected to be followed by a wider government reshuffle, which is likely to be announced later this week.
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