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French president ready to extend state of emergency by another six months

July 19, 19:36 UTC+3 PARIS
The state of emergency was imposed in the country after last year’s Islamist militant attacks in Paris on November 13
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© AP Photo/Armando Franca

PARIS, July 19. /TASS/. French President Francois Hollande said on Tuesday he was ready to extend by another six months the state of emergency imposed in the country after last November’s terrorist attacks in Paris.

"When the country comes under attack, the responsibility for extending the state of emergency rests with me as the president as well as with the parliament," the president said during a trip to Lisbon.

"At the moment it is three months that we are talking about, but I am ready to extend the state of emergency by another three months," the president said.

Earlier on Tuesday, a bill was presented to a government session chaired by Hollande, seeking an extension of the state of emergency until November. However, Justice Minister Jean-Jacques Urvoas made it clear that changes could be made to the bill.

He said the possibility it could be extended as the bill was discussed in parliament was not ruled out. In this case, France will have the state of emergency in place at the start of 2017, the run-up to the presidential election the first round of which is due next spring.

The center-right and right opposition, the Republicans, seek an extension of the nationwide state of emergency for half-a-year right away. They also believe it is necessary to back the state of emergency by a number of bylaws enabling a more efficient fight against terrorism, in particular putting in custody ‘as a precaution’ people suspected of radical Islamist views as well as those already having criminal records related to terrorism.

Debates on a bill to extend the state of emergency will begin in France’s National Assembly already on Tuesday. Prime Minister Manuel Valls will dwell on the government position.

The state of emergency was imposed in the country after last year’s Islamist militant attacks in Paris on November 13. Under initial plans, it was to stay in place just for several months, but it has been repeatedly extended.

It has been once again extended by three months following a terrorist attack in France’s southern city of Nice on July 14.

At least 84 people were killed and hundreds injured as a 31-year old Franco-Tunisian man drove a truck at full speed through the crowd who had gathered to watch the Bastille Day fireworks display over the Nice seafront.

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