French press responds to council’s decision on ‘genocide’ bill
PARIS - Anatolia News Agency
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, center, gestures as he visits the Paris international agricultural fair, in Paris, Saturday Feb. 25, 2012. (AP Photo/ Eric Feferberg, Pool)
Members of the French press have reported extensively on a decision by the country’s Constitutional Council to strike down a bill criminalizing Armenian ‘genocide’ denials.
Daily Le Figaro stated that President Nicolas Sarkozy immediately demanded a new draft for the bill, which was rejected because it was “unconstitutional” and a violation of “freedom of expression.”
Sarkozy was “more cautious in the later hours” during the council debate, the daily reported.
The president will stay calm in the upcoming days and re-evaluate the decision made by the council as he meets with relevant organizations and foundations to make up his mind, Le Figaro said.
"I need to evaluate the decision made by the council before reacting to anything," Sarkozy was quoted as saying to his immediate circle.
The left-leaning Libération described Sarkozy’s gambit on the bill as a strategy to "get the votes of the Armenian voters, as well as showing clearly that [Sarkozy] was against Turkey's accession to EU."
Libération further claimed that many historians, lawmakers and parliamentary members indicated that the council would cancel the bill.
La Parisien daily also published a detailed news report of the decision.
The law, introduced by Sarkozy’s party, was first approved by Parliament on Dec. 22 and then by the French Senate on Jan. 23. The measure set a punishment of up to one year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros for those who deny or outrageously minimize the killings of Armenians during World War I.
With the high court decision, the law is null and void and the entire legislative process will have to completely restart.