Bernard Cazeneuve, the recently-appointed French prime minister, has said his government will seek to extend its state of emergency to July 2017 – after the Presidential and Parliamentary elections are held. The emergency measures were implemented in November 2015 in after the terror attacks on the French capital which killed 130 people.
The government will now ask the French parliament for approval to extend the state of emergency, which was set to end in mid-January next year. The emergency measures have now been extended four times, as the government considers further attacks by Islamic fundamentalists to be high-risk.
The move was first mooted by former prime minister Manuel Valls, who said last month: "It is difficult today to end the state of emergency, especially since we are going to begin a presidential campaign in a few weeks with meetings, with public gatherings."
The emergency measures in France allow more authoritarian measures, which have been criticised by some as in breach of civil liberties. The measures include giving power to police to conduct house raids and searches without a warrant or judicial oversight. They also give extra powers to place people under house arrest outside the normal judicial process as well as restrictions on large gatherings.
Having now been extended several times since the powers were invoked, earlier this year, a group of four UN human rights specialists warned of "the lack of clarity and precision of several provisions of the state of emergency and surveillance laws".
Meanwhile, The Human Rights League of France also complained the state of emergency "seriously impacts public freedoms".
As well as the attacks on Paris last November, 86 people were killed in Nice in July. There were also a number of smaller incidents, such as the slaying of an 86-year-old priest in July, for which Islamic State (IS) militants claimed responsibility.