French advance measure to give guillotine the ax

The French Cabinet approved a bill that would abolish the death penalty after two centuries of executions by guillotine. The bill wil go before Parliament in September and approval was considered certain, because the key lower house, which can overrule the Senate, is dominated by President Francois Mitterand's Socialists. The decision fulfills a Mitterrand campaign pledge to abolish the death penalty, despite publicity over a rising crime rate and public opinion polls indicating that most people want to keep the guillotine as a deterrent.

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