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Macron says jihadists can keep their French passports

French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron said Thursday that he was against stripping Islamic dual nationals of French citizenship, calling such measures "divisive anti-terror measures".

Published: March 2, 2017, 3:47 pm

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    In an exclusive interview to Le Parisien newspaper, he said: “I am not in favor of the stripping of nationality or any other symbolic measures that would divide the country. What we need, is efficiency and action. And also to lead the moral and civilisational battle.”

    Macron also said that he was not considering any new legislation to help fight terrorism.

    French President Francois Hollande wanted to revoke French citizenship of convicted terrorists after November 2015 jihadist attacks in Paris, but later scrapped the plan.

    Eight weeks before the first round of the election, unlikely contender Macron is still in the race, because the other candidates against Le Pen are much worse. His party, En Marche! is not a political party, so it doesn’t receive public funding. He also has no party volunteers. For that reason it is suspected that Macron is being bankrolled by bankers. He has been called the “Hillary Clinton” of France by commentators.

    Macron addressed the media during a press conference held in Paris, on Thursday with just 52 days left before French voters choose their president.

    The former Socialist’s candidacy is relying on an alliance with oldtimer and centrist François Bayrou. The leader of the Mouvement Démocrate (MoDem) party, credited with around 5 percent in the polls, has decided not to stand for the fourth time in a presidential election.

    Macron also suggested that he was the only candidate not tainted by scandal. But the schedule of French court proceedings against FN leader Le Pen and former premier Francois Fillon was arranged in order to benefit Macron, FN deputy Florian Philippot said on Wednesday.

    Le Pen was even less impressed by Macron’s grasp of international politics. “How can the pro-European fanatic Emmanuel Macron hope to be understood by Britain which has voted for Brexit, by Italy who has just said no to the European Union by referendum, by the Netherlands which are getting ready for a victory of the nationalists with my friend Geert Wilders,” Le Pen told supporters.

    Macron said he would look forward to increased security cooperation with the US despite his ideological differences with Donald Trump, but called Trump’s skepticism about global warming “a deep mistake”. He called for increased military spending to 2 percent of GDP — as the US has demanded.

    Macron’s social media campaign is run by Laurence Haïm, a former journalist who has covered American politics for the past 20 years, including the two Obama campaigns. Polls suggest Macron and Le Pen may face off in the May 7 presidential runoff.

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