French ministers rebuff opposition call for Syria vote

September 2, 2013 16:53

PARIS - Senior members of France's ruling party rebuffed opposition calls for a parliamentary debate on whether to take military action against Syria, saying on Monday lawmakers should respect the president's constitutional right to decide on attacks.

President Francois Hollande's demands for Syrian President Bashar Assad to be punished for an alleged chemical strike have left him out on a limb since Britain's parliament voted against taking part in any action and US President Barack Obama said he would seek Congress approval before any assault.

Hollande is the army's commander in chief under the French constitution and empowered to order an intervention. His sole obligation is to inform parliament within three days of action starting.

Only if it were to last more than four months would he be obliged to seek parliamentary approval for it to continue.

With opinion polls showing up to two-thirds of the public would oppose an intervention in Syria, several conservative, centrist and green politicians called over the weekend for France to hold a special parliamentary vote.

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