What a difference a riot can make.
The three nights of armed mayhem in a Muslim quarter of Grenoble in July that saw numerous cars burned, police officers fired upon and their families threatened has ignited an unexpected and energetic response from France's politicians. In what may be the last chance to halt France's slide into anarchy as well as an indication of how endangered the French social order is, the country's center-right ruling party, the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (Union for a Popular Movement (UMP)), is set to introduce two constitutional amendments into the National Assembly next month to deal with the country's deteriorating social situation. Both concern cancelling French citizenship for convicted criminals.
France's immigration minister, Eric Besson, the person responsible for drafting the amendments, said revoking French citizenship is not anti-constitutional and therefore will receive clearance from France's constitutional council. The forfeiture of French nationality, Besson says, currently exists in France, but only for convictions for serious offences like terrorism and espionage. Before 1998, however, it was allowed under common law "for a certain number of crimes."