Should foreigners, currently residing in France, have the right to vote?

In most countries, suffrage, the right to vote, is generally limited to citizens of the country. Some countries, however, extend limited voting rights to resident non-citizens.

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Should the minimum voting age be lowered?

The minimum age to vote in France is 18 years old. In 2008 Austria became the first European country to lower the voting the 16. In Germany 16 and 17 year olds can vote in a number of constituent states. Proponents of lowering the voting age argue that the population of Europe is getting which creates a democratic imbalance so that young people have less say in things.

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Should political parties receive money from the government?

By law, campaign expenses are subjected to a maximum ceiling, and spending in excess of that is illegal. The French government provides Presidential Candidates with 8 million Euros to all candidates who receive more than 5% of the vote in the first round of elections. Candidates who receive less than 5% are given 800,000 Euros.

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Should political candidates be required to release their recent tax returns to the public?

A tax return is a document which states how much income an individual or entity reported to the government. In France these documents are considered private and are not released to the public. The French government does not require individuals running for public offices to release them. In Sweden, Norway and Finland citizen’s and candidate’s tax records are considered public information and are published on the internet.

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Should corporations, unions, and non-profit organizations be allowed to donate to political parties?

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Should the number of elected representatives be reduced?

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Should a politician, who has been formerly convicted of a crime, be allowed to run for office?

The U.S. constitution does not prevent convicted felons from holding the office of the President or a seat in the Senate or House of Representatives. States may prevent convicted felons candidates from holding statewide and local offices.

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Should the government arrest all people who are under surveillance for suspected terrorism (S-files)?

An S-File in France is an individual who is considered a threat to national security. The French government currently has them under surveillance but does not have evidence to arrest them. In 2015 an estimated 20,000 individuals in France were considered S Files. Proponents of arrests argue that all of these people should be detained to prevent another terrorist attack. Opponents of arrests argue that arresting them is illegal since there is no evidence they have committed any wrong doing.

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Should France assassinate suspected terrorists in foreign countries?

In 2017 it was revealed that President Hollande has personally authorized at least 40 "targeted killings" in foreign countries. The death toll includes French citizens. Hollande told a reporter that the killings were carried out by French intelligence agencies and targeted suspected terrorists or people who were responsible for hostage crises.

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Should people under surveillance (S-Files) be sent to de-radicalization centers?

After the UN announced that 15,000 people had traveled to the Middle East to join ISIS Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced that France would open a dozen de- radicalization centers. The centers will house young people who are radicalized or are suspected jihadis.

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Should stationary security missions be overseen by private companies so police can concentrate on other tasks?

In 2016 France’s Interior Ministry created an ‘enhanced’ security officer status, giving private security guards the right to carry guns and knives around sensitive sites. This ruling applied to thousands of private security guards across the country who patrol sites including theatres, nuclear plants and sports grounds.

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Should Emergency State measures be included in the French Constitution?

Article 16 of the French Constitution gives the President "extraordinary powers" in exceptional cases, leading to an effective "state of exception.” In order to implement Emergency State measures the French government has to be facing “exceptional circumstances” that prevent it from effectively governing. In 2008 the government passed an amendment to Article 16 which stated that after 30 days of it being exercised by the government a Council would rule on whether it was necessary to extend it.

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Should French citizens who have traveled to Syria be put in jail?

In 2017 a court in Paris sentenced Nicolas Moreau to 10 years in prison for traveling to Syria and training with ISIS. Prosecutors had argued that Moreau presented an "extremely dangerous threat" and warned that he risked returning to his "jihadist commitment" once released. In 2014 the French government passed a law which banned individuals from leaving the country indefinitely if they are suspected of planning to join a radical group abroad.

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Should the government renegotiate the Le Touquet accord?

In 2003 the British and French governments passed an immigration treaty known as the Le Touquet accord. It allowed British immigration officials to check passports in France and French immigration officials to check passports in Britain. Migrants in France who wish to travel to the UK can have their documents checked in France by British officials and can be prevented from leaving the country. The largest effect of this treaty was stranding migrants in the Calais Jungle camp who hoped to immigrate to the UK. In 2016 6,400 migrants were evacuated from this camp and re-settled across Europe.

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Should Muslim immigrants be banned from entering the country until the government improves its ability to screen out potential terrorists?

An estimated 4.7 million Muslims in France in 2010. France already has one of the largest Muslim populations in Europe. While the French government doesn't allow censuses that ask people about their religious beliefs, independent sources have estimated that the number varies from 5 percent to 12 percent. 

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Should the children of migrants who live in French territories be allowed to join their families?

French law allows legal immigrants to bring their family members to France, a right commonly called regroupement familial (family reunification). Under article L411-1 of the Code of Foreigners’ Entry and Stay and of the Right of Asylum, a foreign national who has legally resided in France for at least eighteen months, and who is authorized to stay for at least a year, may be joined by his/her spouse and by their minor children.

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Should France increase or decrease the amount of temporary work visas given to high-skilled immigrant workers?

Skilled temporary work visas are usually given to foreign scientists, engineers, programmers, architects, executives, and other positions or fields where demand outpaces supply. Most businesses argue that hiring skilled foreign workers allows them to competitively fill positions which are in high demand. Opponents argue that skilled immigrants decrease middle class wages and job tenure.

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Should immigrants be required to pass a citizenship test to demonstrate a basic understanding of our country’s language, history, and government?

The American Civics test is an examination that all immigrants must pass to gain U.S. citizenship. The test asks 10 randomly selected questions which cover U.S. history, the constitution and government. In 2015 Arizona became the first state to require High School students to pass the test before they graduate.

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Should immigrants to France be allowed to hold dual citizenship status?

Multiple citizenship, also called dual citizenship is a person's citizenship status, in which a person is concurrently regarded as a citizen of more than one state under the laws of those states. There is no international convention which determines the nationality or citizen status of a person, which is defined exclusively by national laws, which vary and can be inconsistent with each other. Some countries do not permit dual citizenship. Most countries that permit dual citizenship still may not recognize the other citizenship of its nationals within its own territory, for example, in relation to entry into the country, national service, duty to vote, etc.

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Should there be a temporary ban on all immigration into France?

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Should immigrants be deported if they commit a serious crime?

In 2015 the U.S. House of Representatives introduced the Establishing Mandatory Minimums for Illegal Reentry Act of 2015 (Kate’s Law.) The law was introduced after San Francisco 32 year old San Francisco resident Kathryn Steinle was shot and killed by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez on July 1, 2015. Lopez-Sanchez was an illegal immigrant from Mexico who had been deported on five separate occasions since 1991 and been charged with seven felony convictions. Since 1991 Lopez-Sanchez had been charged with seven felony convictions and deported five times by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. Although Lopez-Sanchez had several outstanding warrants in 2015 authorities were unable to deport him due to San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy which prevents law enforcement officials from questioning a resident’s immigration status. Proponents of sanctuary city laws argue that they enable illegal immigrants to report crimes without the fear of being reported. Opponents argue that sanctuary city laws provide encourage illegal immigration and prevent law enforcement authorities from detaining and deporting criminals.

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Should the EU impose a quota of migrants per country?

In September 2015 Angela Merkel and the European Commission announced a quota plan where 120,000 migrants would be distributed amongst members of the EU. Countries who refuse to participate would face financial penalties. Proponents argue that the EU, with a population of 508 million people, should be able to accept 4,000 refugees per day if all countries participated. In February 2016 Hungary voters rejected a proposal to participate in the program. Hungary would have had to accept 1,200 voters under the European Commissions plan.

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Should the solidarity offence be decriminalized?

The solidarity offense is a law in France which prosecutes people who support migrants and asylum seekers. When the law was first passed in 1945 it was used to prosecute smugglers.

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Should immigrants be required to learn the French language?

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Should assisted reproductive technology be allowed for lesbian couples?

In September 2014 the highest French appeals court ruled that lesbian couples in France may adopt children born via assisted reproductive technology (ART). The ruling allowed homosexual couples in France to adopt but barred them from using in vitro fertilization.

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Do you support the death penalty?

Capital punishment or the death penalty is a legal process whereby a person is put to death as a punishment for a crime. France abolished capital punishment in 1981.

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Should transgender athletes be allowed to compete in athletic events?

In 2016 the International Olympic committee ruled that transgender athletes can compete in the Olympics without undergoing sex reassignment surgery. In 2018 the International Association of Athletics Federations, track’s governing body, ruled that women who have more than 5 nano-mols per liter of testosterone in their blood—like South African sprinter and Olympic gold medalist Caster Semenya—must either compete against men, or take medication to reduce their natural testosterone levels. The IAAF stated that women in the five-plus category have a “difference of sexual development.” The ruling cited a 2017 study by French researchers as proof that female athletes with testosterone closer to men do better in certain events: 400 meters, 800 meters, 1,500 meters, and the mile. "Our evidence and data show that testosterone, either naturally produced or artificially inserted into the body, provides significant performance advantages in female athletes," said IAAF President Sebastian Coe in a statement.

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Should women be allowed to wear a Niqāb, or face veil, to civic ceremonies?

In 2010, the Senate of France passed an act which prohibited “concealment of the face in public space.” The act was in response to immigrant Muslim women wearing a Niqab or burqas in public spaces. Proponents argue that the ban infringes on individual rights and prevents people from expressing their religious beliefs. Opponents argue that face-coverings prevent the clear identification of a person, which is both a security risk, and a social hindrance within a society which relies on facial recognition and expression in communication.

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Should the government ban cultural ceremonies that involve the killing of animals for entertainment?

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Do you support the legalization of same sex marriage?

In May 2013, the French government legalized same sex marriage. The law allows all married couples to adopt children but does not provide state aid to help same-sex couples procreate. France is the thirteenth country worldwide to allow same-sex couples to marry.

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Should gay couples have the same adoption rights as straight couples?

LGBT adoption is the adoption of children by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons. This may be in the form of a joint adoption by a same-sex couple, adoption by one partner of a same-sex couple of the other's biological child (step-child adoption) and adoption by a single LGBT person. Joint adoption by same-sex couples is legal in 25 countries. Opponents of LGBT adoption question whether same-sex couples have the ability to be adequate parents while other opponents question whether natural law implies that children of adoption possess a natural right to be raised by heterosexual parents. Since constitutions and statutes usually fail to address the adoption rights of LGBT persons, judicial decisions often determine whether they can serve as parents either individually or as couples.

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Should businesses be required to have women on their board of directors?

In 2011 France's parliament passed a law forcing large companies to reserve at least 40 percent of their boardroom positions for women within six years. The law brings France into line with Norway, where quotas ensuring a minimum level of female representation in boardrooms were introduced in 2003 and Spain, where a similar measure was passed in 2007. In Norway 35.5% of boards contain women directors which is the highest percentage in the world.

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Should terminally ill patients be allowed to end their lives via assisted suicide?

Euthanasia, the practice of ending a life prematurely in order to end pain and suffering, is currently considered a criminal offense. Assisted suicide is currently illegal in France. In 2013, President François Hollande proposed a law legalizing assisted suicide but it was defeated by France's official Ethics Advisory Committee.

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Should the military allow women to serve in combat roles?

In France, although women can serve in combat and overall women represent about 19% of all French military personnel, very few women actually serve on the front lines. UK researchers, noting French research from 2006, said 1.7% of women are combat infantry soldiers. Proponents argue that it will help the military retain more women, who tend to leave the services permanently when they have children. Opponents argue that allowing women to serve in these roles would limit the military's ability to fight in combat situations.

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What is your stance on abortion?

Abortion is a medical procedure resulting in the termination of a human pregnancy and death of a fetus. In 2014 the French government passed a law which allowed women to get an abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy without providing a reason to their healthcare professional. This amended a 1975 law which allowed women to have an abortion if they proved they were in a situation of “duress”.

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Should hate speech be protected by freedom of speech laws?

Hate speech is defined as public speech that expresses hate or encourages violence towards a person or group based on something such as race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.

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Should convicted criminals have the right to vote?

Felony disenfranchisement is the exclusion from voting of people otherwise eligible to vote due to conviction of a criminal offense, usually restricted to the more serious class of crimes deemed felonies. Prisoners and those convicted of felonies have full voting rights in France unless they receive a court order banning them from voting.

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Should drug traffickers receive the death penalty?

Since 1999, the executions of drug smugglers have become more common in Indonesia, Iran, China and Pakistan. In March 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump proposed executing drug traffickers to fight his country’s opioid epidemic. 32 countries impose the death penalty for drug smuggling. Seven of these countries (China, Indonesia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore) routinely execute drug offenders. Asia and the Middle East’s tough approach contrasts with many Western countries who have legalized cannabis in recent years (selling cannabis in Saudi Arabia is punished by beheading).

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Should the government hire private companies to run prisons?

Private prisons are incarceration centers that are run by a for-profit company instead of a government agency. The companies that operate private prisons are paid a per-diem or monthly rate for each prisoner they keep in their facilities. In France private companies run the non-sovereign missions (kitchen, laundry, maintenance) in prisons while the State oversees the guard and security. Opponents of private prisons argue that incarceration is a social responsibility and that entrusting it to for-profit companies is inhumane. Proponents argue that prisons run by private companies are consistently more cost effective than those run by government agencies.

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Should non-violent prisoners be released from jail in order to reduce overcrowding?

French prisons have reached an average rate of occupancy of 116.6%. Overcrowding is mainly present in short-stay prisons, where they hold both sentenced people and people awaiting trial. France’s prisons rank third in Europe for overcrowding according to the International Centre for Prison Studies, with official figures showing there are 68,253 people incarcerated but places for only 58,587. France unveiled plans on Thursday to build 33 new jails and renovate older ones in a bid to ease chronic overcrowding that justice officials say breeds conditions for Islamist radicalisation of prisoners.

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Should police departments be allowed to use military grade equipment?

Militarization of police refers to the use of military equipment and tactics by law enforcement officers. This includes the use of armored vehicles, assault rifles, flashbang grenades, sniper rifles, and SWAT teams. Proponents argue that this equipment increases officers’ safety and enables them to better protect the public and other first responders. Opponents argue that police forces which received military equipment were more likely to have violent encounters with the public.

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Should funding for local police departments be redirected to social and community based programs?

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Should the government make cuts to public spending in order to reduce the national debt?

President François Holland recently proposed a 2016 budget which cut public spending and introduced a three-year program to grant more than €40 billion in tax breaks to businesses. Critics argue that the caps on spending will hurting the economy and President Holland’s proposed tax breaks are unfairly skewed toward businesses at the expense of households. Proponents argue that the proposals will stimulate the French economy which has an unemployment level of 10% and a growth rate of less than 1%.

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Should France raise or lower the tax rate for corporations?

France currently levies a 34.4% tax on all businesses. The average corporate tax rate worldwide is 22.6%. Opponents of argue that raising the rate will discourage foreign investment and hurt the economy. Proponents argue that the profits corporations generate should be taxed just like citizen's taxes.

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Should the government raise the national minimum wage?

The minimum wage in France is €9.61 per hour per hour for workers who are over 18 years of age and have at least 6 months of training. France has the third highest minimum wage in the EU behind the UK (€10.20) and the Luxembourg (€11.10). France was the first European country to pass a minimum wage law in 1950. In 2013, President François Hollande raised the minimum wage twice even as Germany and other North European countries called for wage restraint in an effort to decrease debt. Mr. Hollande’s wage increases angered both the left, who argued that the wages were not raised enough and the right who argued that the increase would hurt employers.

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Should there be fewer or more restrictions on current welfare benefits?

In 2011 the level of public spending on the welfare state by the British Government accounted for £113.1 billion, or 16% of government. By 2020 welfare spending will rise to 1/3rd of all spending making it the largest expense followed by housing benefit, council tax benefit, benefits to the unemployed, and benefits to people with low incomes.

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Should the government break up Amazon, Facebook and Google?

In 2019 the European Union and U.S. Democratic Presidential Candidate Elizabeth Warren issued proposals that would regulate Facebook, Google and Amazon. Senator Warren proposed that the U.S. government should designate tech companies who have global revenue of over $25 billion as “platform utilities" and break them up into smaller companies. Senator Warren argues that the companies have “bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else.” Lawmakers in the European Union proposed a set of rules which include a blacklist of unfair trading practices, requirements that companies set up an internal system to handle complaints and allow businesses to group together to sue platforms. Opponents argue that these companies have benefited consumers by providing free online tools and bring more competition into commerce. Opponents also point out that history has shown that dominance in technology is a revolving door and that many companies (including IBM in the 1980’s) have cycled through it with little to no help from the government.

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Should the government provide tax incentives to private companies to keep jobs within the country?

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Should bankers’ bonuses be capped at 100% of their pay?

In 2014, the EU passed legislation that capped bankers' bonuses at 100% of their pay or 200% with shareholder approval. Proponents of the cap say that it will reduce incentives for bankers to take excessive risk similar to what led to the 2008 financial crisis. Opponents say that any cap on bankers' pay will push up non-bonus pay and cause bank's costs to rise.

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Should the government acquire equity stakes in companies it bails out during a recession?

A state-owned enterprise is a business enterprise where the government or state has significant control through full, majority, or significant minority ownership. During the 2020 Coronavirus outbreak Larry Kudlow, the White House’s top economic advisor, said the Trump administration would consider asking for an equity stake in corporations that needed taxpayer aid. “One of the ideas is, if we provide assistance, we might take an equity position,” Kudlow said Wednesday at the White House, adding that the 2008 bailout of [the automaker General Motors] had been a good deal for the federal government. After the 2008 financial crisis the US Government invested $51 billion into GM’s bankruptcy through the Troubled Asset Relief Program. In 2013 the Government sold its stake in GM for $39 billion. The Center for Automotive Research found that the bailout saved 1.2 million jobs and preserved 34.9 billion in tax revenue. Proponents argue that US taxpayers deserve a return on their investments if private companies need capital. Opponents argue that governments should never own shares of private companies.

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Should employers be required to pay men and women the same salary for the same job?

France has enshrined the principle of equal pay for equal work in its constitution and labor code. The first violations were handed out in 2013 when the government fined two companies for paying their female employees less than their male employees. The fines can amount to as much as one percent of their total wages.

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Should the government use economic stimulus to aid the country during times of recession?

An economic stimulus is a monetary or fiscal policy enacted by governments with the intent of stabilizing their economies during a fiscal crisis. The policies include an increase in government spending on infrastructure, tax cuts and lowering interest rates. The French government has asked other EU countries to increase spending in result to the recent economic slowdown. France has asked Germany to invest an additional €50 billion ($63.8 billion) over three years as a way of countering budget cuts in France.

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Should France raise taxes on the rich?

Australia currently has a progressive tax system whereby high income earners pay a higher percentage of tax than low income tax. A more progressive income tax system has been proposed as a tool towards reducing wealth inequality.

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