French Support For Death Penalty Surges To Over Half of the Population

"Old Sparky", the decommissioned electric chair in which 361 prisoners were executed between 1924 and 1964, is pictured 05 November 2007 at the Texas Prison Museum in Huntsville, Texas. From the chaplain who shares the condemned prisoner's final hours to the guard who attaches the needles and the prison director …
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French public support for the reintroduction of the death penalty has surged in 2020, according to a poll that stated 55 per cent of French residents want to see capital punishment make a return.

The figures come from the annual Ipsos/Sopra Steria survey for the Jean Jaurès Foundation and the Institut Montaigne, entitled “French Fractures” and shows a massive surge in support for capital punishment across the political spectrum in 2020.

The highest rate of support for the death penalty comes from supporters of the populist National Rally (RN), led by former presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, with 85 per cent of members in support, compared to 82 per cent in 2019.

The centre-right Les Républicains (LR), saw a much larger increase in support from just 48 per cent in 2019 to 71 per cent in 2020.

The largest increase in support, however, came from the far-left France Insoumise (FI), led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon and the Communist Party. In 2019 just eight per cent of the far-left parties’ supporters backed the death penalty, a number that surged to 39 per cent this year.

The last peak for support for the death penalty took place in 2015 when France saw the deadly Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack in January and the Bataclan nightclub attacks later that year in November. Before this year, 2015 and 2018 have been the only ones to see a majority of French want capital punishment reinstated.

In the UK in 2019, a YouGov poll showed that the majority of Britons were supportive of capital punishment for serious crimes such as multiple murders, murder during an act of terrorism, and the murder of a child.

While the British public is supportive of the death penalty for terrorists, the judiciary has saved two British terrorists from the death penalty.

Last month, U.S. Attorney-General William Barr was forced to promise not to seek the death penalty against two Islamic State executioners responsible for the deaths of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff along with aid workers Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller.

UK judges had ordered British authorities not to extradite the so-called ‘Beatles’ Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh if the pair risked the death penalty.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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