France's new PM Cazeneuve seeks to extend state of emergency

AP News
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Posted: Dec 13, 2016 12:38 PM
France's new PM Cazeneuve seeks to extend state of emergency

PARIS (AP) — In his first speech to parliament, France's new prime minister argued Tuesday for an extension of a year-old state of emergency, saying that's needed to keep France secure through its 2017 presidential election.

Socialist Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve vowed Tuesday to "protect the French" and continue the fight against terrorism despite the fact that he has only five months before the end of President Francois Hollande's term.

"Defeat Islamist extremism implies to fight with all our strength for the Republic," Cazeneuve told lawmakers at the lower house of parliament.

The lower house of parliament is voting Tuesday night on the fifth extension of a state of emergency declared the day after the Paris attacks by Islamic extremists that left 130 people dead on Nov. 13, 2015. The Senate is voting Thursday.

In a very political speech, Cazeneuve warned against "the rise of populism" in Europe and in the United States.

"Following Brexit, the European project itself is at risk of dislocation. It's urgent, yes, urgent to convince citizens to turn away from false promises," Cazeneuve said in an implicit reference to far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen, who is expected to be a serious contender in next year's presidential election.

Cazeneuve last week replaced former Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who stepped down to seek the French presidency in the nation's two-part vote in April and May. Valls will first have to win the primary of the Socialist party and its allies next month.

Cazeneuve also vowed to boost France's economy, fight unemployment and cut public spending. The former French foreign minister also denounced "the horror of the massacres" in the final hours of the battle of Aleppo in Syria.

"Those who perpetrated them will be accountable to the international community," he said.