PARIS (Reuters) -The French government announced plans on Tuesday to form a special parliamentary commission aimed at breaking the deadlock over a draft immigration law that was rejected by lawmakers in a surprise move.
Government spokesperson Olivier Veran told reporters after a cabinet meeting that the commission would be put in place "as fast as possible" and that the government hoped to find a compromise with opposition lawmakers.
The commission will be composed of seven representatives from each house of parliament, and will aim to return the bill to both chambers for a vote, Veran said.
The immigration bill has been an important plank of President Emmanuel Macron's attempts to show he can be tougher on law-and-order issues while keeping France's doors open to foreign workers who can help the economy.
It also includes provisions disliked by left-wing lawmakers and more liberal aspects that have been criticised by some conservatives and the far right.
Although the Senate had adopted the bill, lawmakers in the National Assembly sent it back to the drawing board on Monday, cutting short debates and dealing a blow to Macron's attempts to pass laws without a majority.
Lawmakers from Marine Le Pen's far-right Rassemblement National (RN), many conservatives from Les Republicains (LR) and members of the left bloc rejected the bill on its first day of debate.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said Monday's vote was "against France" but that he still believed a breakthrough was possible before the end of the year "so that we adopt a strong law against illegal immigration."
LR President Eric Ciotti told Europe 1 radio the bill presented to the lawmakers "carried a message of pseudo-firmness" that went in the direction of "more regularisation of illegal immigration".
He said this was unacceptable, but that he saw no reason not to back the text that had been approved by the Senate.
(Reporting by Piotr Lipinski and Elizabeth Pineau, Editing by Tassilo Hummel and Timothy heirtage)