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France

Yearbook 2015

France. According to COUNTRYAAH, the country was hit hard by Islamist terrorism during the year. On January 7, two brothers shot a total of twelve people, the majority of journalists, in an attack on the satire newspaper Charlie Hebdo's Paris office. In related assaults, a third perpetrator murdered a police officer and four people in a Jewish grocery store. All three perpetrators were shot dead by police. The shock was great and “je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) became a widely used expression of sympathy for those affected and in support of freedom of expression and open society.

2015 France

2015 FranceThe worldwide TV5 Monde station was hit in April by a multi-hour cyber attack when the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization took control of the digital broadcasts. In the same month, President François Hollande announced increased defense efforts of close to EUR 4 billion in response to the extremist threat.

In August, a man was disarmed on a high-speed train en route from Amsterdam to Paris. The man who, among other things, had an automatic weapon was overpowered by fellow passengers.

France, which had previously participated in the US-led bombing of IS in Iraq, expanded its attacks in September to include Syria.

On November 13, Paris was hit by one of the worst terrorist acts in Europe during the postwar period. A total of 130 people were killed in concerted attacks on a football arena, a concert venue and several restaurants and bars. Six perpetrators blew to death and one was shot by police, but a couple were believed to have escaped. An emergency permit was introduced in the country and the borders were closed. IS took on the deed.

The following week, police hit the suburb of Saint-Denis and killed three people. One of them was the suspected brain behind the November act, a wanted Belgian-Moroccan man sentenced to prison in Belgium for terrorist offenses.

All 150 people on board were killed when a German passenger plane on its way from Barcelona to Düsseldorf crashed in the French Alps in March, after the second pilot locked himself in the driver's cabin and fled the plane straight into a rock wall.

Splits within the Socialist Party helped Prime Minister Manuel Valls twice use a rarely used special procedure to push through legislative changes without allowing the National Assembly to vote. This was partly due to changes in labor law and partly to an economic reform package. Both times, distrustful votes were demanded against the government, which it did, however.

A feud at the highest level within the right-wing party National Front (UN) deepened during the year. 86-year-old party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen repeated earlier statements that the Nazis' gas chamber was a "historic detail", despite efforts by the daughter and successor of party leader Marine Le Pen to curb racism and anti-Semitism in the party. As a result, Jean-Marie Le Pen was banned from speaking in the party's name, and in August he was excluded from the party.

In the December regional elections, the United Nations went strong and became the largest party in the first round with close to 28% of the vote, just ahead of the leading bourgeois party that changed its name to the Republicans during the year (from the Union for a People's Movement, the UMP). The ruling Socialist Party backed down and was supported by only 23% of voters. However, in the second round of elections, when two candidates were pitted against each other, the UN failed to take home the victory in any region.

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