France makes U-turn on non-EU residents' right to vote

Reuters News
Posted: May 29, 2014 7:46 AM

PARIS (Reuters) - France is putting on hold plans to give its non-EU residents the right to vote in local elections, the country's interior minister has said, reneging on an electoral promise made by Francois Hollande during his 2012 presidential campaign.

After victory for France's far right FN party in Sunday's European Parliament polls, the reform, which would have benefited large communities of Moroccans and Algerians in France, lacked support in parliament and Senate, he said.

"This matter can only see the light of day if there is a majority behind it," Bernard Cazeneuve told French television LCP on Wednesday. "There is no point asking questions which we know we do not have the means to solve."

With far-right, anti-EU parties hailing stunning victories in France, Britain and Denmark and populists gaining ground elsewhere, European leaders are facing dilemmas over immigration and the future of European integration.

Florian Philippot, deputy head of the FN, which opposes voting rights for foreigners, said stalling the reform was "a nice effect of the FN vote".

"We see that it is a useful vote even before it gets to power," he said on French TV channel i<TELE on Thursday.

(Reporting by Chine Labbe; Writing by Astrid Wendlandt; Editing by Louise Ireland)