French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said his government had no plan to let foreigners vote in local elections, backpedaling formally on a 2012 campaign pledge by Socialist President François Hollande. The statement came as Valls’ Socialist party tried to drum up support ahead of local elections in December. Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigration National Front party is expected to capture at least two regional council seats from the Socialists, which it accuses of letting too many migrants into the country. “That promise, in all senses, will not be implemented,” Valls said during a speech Tuesday at Paris’ prestigious Sciences Po university. “And I am convinced that it will not be proposed again during the presidential election.”
The law, which would have meant changing the Constitution in a special session of parliament, would have put France “under pressure” by focusing attention on immigrants to their disadvantage, Valls added.
As Europe’s migration crisis worsens, it’s become a main focus of the regional election campaign. Candidates from all parties, from the Socialists to Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservative “Les Républicains” have advocated maintaining strong limits on the number of migrants allowed into France.
Their tough stances are supported by opinion polls that show a majority of voters do not want France to follow Germany and allow vast numbers of migrants into the country.