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Right-wing France leader pledges death penalty restoration

[JURIST] Jean-Marie Le Pen [BBC profile], leader of France's far-right National Front [party website], kickstarted his fifth bid to become president Sunday with an announcement of plans to reintroduce the death penalty just days after the French parliament [official website, in French] voted to amend [JURIST report] the French Constitution [text] to include an explicit ban. In a special joint session of both the National Assembly and the Senate [official websites, in French] at the Palace of Versailles, the amendment [text, in French] passed Monday by a vote of 828-26 [voting record]. While the death penalty [JURIST news archive] has been outlawed in France since 1981, the vote officially revised the constitution to reflect this.

Le Pen's platform also includes plans to reduce the age of criminal liability to 10, create a National Guard, end benefit payments to foreigners, create 75,000 more prison places, and pull France out of NATO [official website]. In July 2006, Le Pen faced trial [JURIST report] in Paris for allegedly denying the brutality of the Nazi occupation of France during World War II. Under French anti-racism laws [text, in French; Wikipedia backgrounder on the "Loi Gayssot"], denying the Holocaust is a crime and carries charges for "complicity in contesting crimes against humanity and complicity in justifying war crimes." Le Pen surprised observers with his strong performance in the 2002 French presidential election [BBC backgrounder]. The Guardian has more.

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