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Sénat (Senate)

Compare data for parliamentary chambers in the Presidency module

Parliament name (generic / translated) Parlement / Parliament
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name (generic / translated) Sénat / Senate
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Assemblée nationale / National Assembly
Title President of the Senate
Term - duration: 3 years, renewable without limit
- reasons for interruption of the term: resignation, death, service as interim President of the Republic
Appointment elected by all the Senators, every 3 years at the first sitting of the ordinary session following the partial renewal (1/3) of the Senate
Eligibility Any Senator may be a candidate and no notification of candidature is required
Voting system - formal majority vote by secret ballot, may be in several rounds
- new candidates may be admitted in case of a series of votes
- if no candidate obtains an absolute majority in the first two rounds, a relative majority is sufficient in the third round
Procedures / results - the senior Member presides over the Senate during the voting
- the senior Member, assisted by the secretaries of the Seniority Board (the six youngest), supervises the voting
- the senior Member announces the results without delay
- the results cannot be challenged
Status - ranks third, strictly speaking, in the order of precedence, after the Prime Minister and before the President of the Assembly, but in view of the functions of interim President of the Republic conferred on him by the Constitution, is in fact the second-ranking person in the hierarchy of State
- does not preside over sittings of the Board of Congress (meeting of the National Assembly and the Senate)
- represents the Senate with the authorities
- presides over the Board of the Conference of Presidents
- represents the Senate at the international level
- in the absence of the President, one of the 6 Vice-Presidents can assume his/her role and functions
Board - is regulated by the Standing Orders of the Senate and by law
- consists of 22 Members: 1 President, 6 Vice-Presidents, 3 Questors and 12 Secretaries elected at each renewal of the Senate, every three years
- meets at the initiative of the President, with varying frequency
- certain attributions are of a collegial nature - for others, the President is personally competent
Material facilities - allowance (received by all MPs)
+ expense allowance (FF 58,000/mo)
- official residence (Hôtel du Petit-Luxembourg)
- secretariat
- official cars + chaffeurs
Organization of parliamentary business - presides over the Conference of Presidents which, in liaison with the Government, prepares the programme and the timetable of work
- the Conference of Presidents organizes the debates and sets speaking time
- the Board examines the admissibility of bills
- refers texts to a committee for study

Chairing of public sittings - can open, adjourn and close sittings
- ensures respect for provisions of the Constitution and Standing Orders
- makes announcements concerning the Senate (role of the President of the sitting)
- is responsible for discipline within the Senate; as such, may take disciplinary measures in the event of disturbance, and lift such measures (certain sanctions require a vote by the Senate)
- establishes the list of speakers, gives and withdraws permission to speak, in connection with the organization of the debates laid down by the Conference of Presidents
- establishes the order in which amendments are taken up
- calls for a vote, decides how it is to be carried out, verifies the voting procedure
- authenticates the texts adopted and the records of debates
Special powers - proposes candidates for high-level legislative posts to the Board
- nominates the Clerk, who is then appointed by the Board
- administers and oversees all services from a legislative point of view: in particular has decision-making power with regard to the careers of the staff of the legislative services

- establishes, in liaison with the Board, the policy of relations with foreign Parliaments
- is responsible for safety, and in this capacity, can call the police in the event of disturbance in the Senate
Speaking and voting rights, other functions - takes the floor in legislative debates, when he/she is not presiding over the sitting
- takes part in voting on an exceptional basis
- proposes bills or amendments
- may ask written or oral questions
- is empowered to seize the Constitutional Council:
- to settle a dispute between himself/herself and the Administration with regard to the admissibility of a bill or amendment
- when he/she deems that an international engagement contains an unconstitutional clause
- when he/she deems that a law which has been adopted but not yet promulgated is unconstitutional
- appoints the members of the Constitutional Council, the High Council of the Magistrature, the High Audiovisual Board and other extra-parliamentary bodies
- must be consulted by the President of the Republic in certain circumstances (dissolution, introduction of emergency powers, etc.)

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