Marrakech, Nov 15: President Francois Hollande today proposed extending France’s year-old state of emergency to May, to cover the next presidential election. Speaking on the sidelines of UN climate talks in Morocco, Hollande said he wanted to prolong the emergency measures in place since the November 2015 Paris attacks, which had been due to expire in January. France’s two-round presidential election takes place on April 23 and May 7. “I want to extend the state of emergency until the presidential election,” he said in an interview with France 24, RFI and TV5Monde in Marrakesh.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said his government was going to ask parliament for a new extension beyond January. The state of emergency was introduced on the night of the November 13, 2015 Paris attacks and extended for six months in late July. Today’s extension announcement came days after France marked the first anniversary of the jihadist attacks which left 130 people dead. Hollande, who has the lowest popularity ratings of any post-war president, has said he will not decide until early December whether to seek re-election. The election is currently forecast to end in a second-round runoff pitting a centre-right candidate — likely former prime minister Alain Juppe, 71 — against 48-year-old far-right National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen.