President Hollande on war footing after Paris attacks

By and

After the Charlie Hebdo shootings in January this year President François Hollande's key focus was on pulling the nation together. Now, after the terror attacks that struck Paris on Friday November 13th, the French head of state has espoused the language of war to justify more air strikes by French jets in Syria and Iraq, stronger internal security measures, more police officers and, most notably, a change to the French constitution. In a rare address to French MPs and senators Hollande said on Monday: “France is at war.” As Lénaïg Bredoux and Martine Orange report, the mood in the French presidency is for tough talk and tough measures to combat jihadists – and also to stop the French Right from seizing the political initiative.

Reading articles is for subscribers only. Subscribe now.

The tone has changed dramatically. After the Charlie Hebdo massacre and the attack on a Jewish supermarket in Paris in January 2015, President François Hollande's main emphasis was on pulling the nation together. After the attacks in Paris on Friday November 13th, the mood has switched to a war footing as the French government seeks to respond to the “act of war” committed by a “terrorist army”, namely Islamic State (IS) which has claimed responsibility for the attacks. As for the notion of national unity, on a political level that already seems under strain.