|Parliament name (generic / translated)
||Parlement / Parliament
|Structure of parliament
|Chamber name (generic / translated)
||Sénat / Senate
|Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments)
Assemblée nationale / National Assembly
|Nature of the mandate
||· Free representation (Art. 27 (1) of the Constitution of 04.10.1958, version published on 23.02.1996)
|Start of the mandate
||· Upon the opening of the ordinary session following the election of the senators (Art. L.O. 277 of the Electoral Code). The three-yearly renewals of the Senate usually take place on the last Sunday of the month of September. The ordinary session of Parliament starts on the first working day of October (Art. 28 (1) of the Constitution)
· Case of partial renewal occurring between two three-yearly renewals (case of vacancy of a seat):
(a) Without a by-election: the mandate of the substitute or person whose name is next on the list shall take effect on the day following the date on which the mandate of the replaced senator has come to an end. However, if the replacement of a senator appointed as minister is involved, the mandate of his replacement takes effect one month after the appointment of the senator as member of the Government. If the replacement of a senator elected as deputy is involved, the mandate of the person replacing him only starts upon expiry of the deadline for contesting the election to the National Assembly (10 days) or, in case of a challenge, after the decision of the Constitutional Council possibly confirming the election.
(b) With a by-election: the mandate of the senator elected in a by-election starts the day the election results are proclaimed.
|Validation of mandates
||· No validation, except in case of challenge. In this case, the Constitutional Court rules on the regularity of the election (Art. 59 of the Constitution).
|End of the mandate
||· Upon the opening of the ordinary session following the renewal of the three-yearly series during which the senators concerned have been appointed (Art. L.O. 277 of the Electoral Code)
· In case of early termination of a given mandate, the mandate of a senator elected as deputy ends on the date of his election as deputy, in case of challenge, after decision by the Constitutional Council confirming the election (Art. L.O. 137 of the Electoral Code). The mandate of a senator appointed a member of the Government ends upon expiry of a time limit of one month starting with the MP's appointment as minister (Art. 1 of Order N° 58-1099 of 17.11.1958 introducing an Organic Law for the application of Art. 23 of the Constitution). However, senators who are members of Government may not take part in any votes.
· The mandate of the persons who have replaced the senators whose seats have fallen vacant expires on the date on which the initial titular member would have himself been subject to renewal (Art. L.O. 323 of the Electoral Code).
|Can MPs resign?
||· Yes, of their own free will
· Procedure (customary): resignations of senators are addressed in writing to the President of the Senate, who brings them to the attention of the assembly at the first following sitting and notifies the Government. In addition, when the Senate is not sitting, the President takes note of the resignations by means of a ruling inserted in the Official Gazette.
· Authority competent to accept the resignation: the President of the Senate
|Can MPs lose their mandate?
|| (a) Loss of mandate for incompatibilities concurrent holding of more than one public office/failure to take the oath (compulsory resignation):
(1) With respect to incompatibility if the deputy has voluntarily preferred his professional activities to the exercise of his parliamentary mandate and has not resigned from the latter
(2) With regard to concurrent holding of more than one public office if the deputy has not regularised his situation within the time limit set and when the mandate at the origin of the situation of concurrently held offices is a parliamentary mandate such as being a member of the European Parliament (art. L.O. 2000 -294)
(b) Loss of mandate by judicial decision (forfeiture):
- Any person whose ineligibility is revealed after the declaration of the results and the expiry of the time limit during which they may be contested or who, during his mandate, finds himself in one of the cases of ineligibility foreseen by the Electoral Code (Art. L.O. 136 (1) of the Electoral Code) shall without further consideration forfeit his seat.
|STATUS OF MEMBERS
|Rank in hierarchy
||· Within the Senate:
1. The Board
2. Former Prime Ministers
3. Chairpersons of political groups, ranked by order of seniority
4. Presidents of standing committees, ranked by order of function
5. The Rapporteur General of the Finance Committee
6. The Delegate of the Administrative Meeting of Senators not on the list of any group
7. The President of the European delegation
8. The President of the Delegation for Planning
9. The President of the Bureau for Scientific and Technological Choices (when he is a senator)
10. Senators who are former Ministers, ranked according to the date of their election to the Senate
11. Other senators, ranked according to seniority of senatorial mandate (first election) and possibly age
· Outside the Senate (Decree N° 89-659 of 13.09.1989):
- In Paris during public ceremonies; the official order of precedence ranks the President of the Senate 3rd and senators 12th.
- In the other départements (main administrative divisions) and in the territories of St-Pierre and Miquelon and Mayotte during official ceremonies: the official order of precedence ranks senators 3rd.
|Indemnities, facilities and services
||· No diplomatic or official passport
· Basic salary: FF 32,241.33/per month (as at 01.10.1997)
+ Housing allowance: FF 967.24/per month
+ Duty allowance: FF 8,320.14/per month
· Exemption from tax for the basic salary. The basic salary and the housing allowance are liable to tax on the same basic as wages and salary (Art. 43 of Law N° 92-108 of 03.02.1992).
· Pension scheme
· Other facilities:
(a) Secretariat: monthly secretariat allowance for each senator, paid to the political groups
(b) Assistants: senators may use the services of three personal assistants.
(c) Official car only for dignatories (Senate Vice-Presidents, Chairpersons of groups or Committee Presidents)
(d) Postal and telephone services
(e) Travel and transport
(f) Other: reimbursement of representation expenses in the case of a mission commissioned by the Senate
|Obligation to declare personal assets
|Parliamentary immunity - parliamentary non-accountability
||· The concept exists (Art. 26 (1) of the Constitution)
· Parliamentary non-accountability is limited to acts relating to parliamentary functions, with regard to both substance and venue.
· Derogations: insult, provocation or threat against other senators, the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, members of the Government and assemblies provided for in the Constitution, as well as insult of the Senate or its President (Art. 94, N° 3, and 95 (1), N° 3 and 4 of the Standing Orders of the Senate; see Discipline).
· Non-accountability takes effect on the day when the mandate begins and offers, after the expiry of the mandate, protection against prosecution for opinions expressed during the exercise of the mandate.
|Parliamentary immunity - parliamentary inviolability
||· The concept exists (Art. 26 (2) of the Constitution).
· It applies only to criminal proceedings, covers all offences with the exception of minor ones and protects MPs only from arrest and from being held in preventive custody (in particular, from being placed in preventive custody or under judicial control), not from the opening of judicial proceedings against them and from their homes being searched.
· Derogations: parliamentary inviolability does not apply in cases of a flagrante delicto crime or misdemeanour or final sentencing (Art. 26 (2) of the Constitution).
· Parliamentary inviolability does not prevent MPs from being called as witnesses before a judge or tribunal.
· Protection is provided from the start of the mandate. As parliamentary inviolability does not in general provide protection against prosecution, it also fails to cover judicial proceedings instituted against MPs before their election.
· Parliamentary immunity (inviolability) can be lifted (Art. 26 (2) of the Constitution):
- Competent authority: the Board of the Senate
- Procedure: in this case, MPs cannot be heard. They do not have means of appeal.
· Parliament cannot subject the prosecution and/or detention to certain conditions).
· Parliament can suspend the prosecution and/or detention of one of its members (Art. 26 (3) of the Constitution):
- Competent authority: the Senate itself
- Procedure (Art. 26 (4) of the Constitution and Art. 105 of the Standing Orders of the Senate)
· In the event of preventive custody or imprisonment, the MPs concerned cannot be authorised to attend sittings of Parliament.
|EXERCISE OF THE MANDATE
||· There is no training/initiation process on parliamentary practices and procedures for MPs.
· Handbooks of parliamentary procedure:
- Practical memento concerning modalities for the submission and drafting of amendments, sub-amendments and procedural motions
- "Pour mieux connaître le Sénat" (Getting to know the Senate better), edited by Documentation française
- Compendium of texts applicable to the authorities
- Standing Orders of the Senate
|Participation in the work of the Parliament
||· It is not compulsory for MPs to be present at plenary sittings (see also Art. 34 of the Standing Orders of the Senate).
· Attendance at committee meetings is compulsory (Art. 15 (1) of the Standing Orders of the Senate). Exceptions.
· Penalties foreseen in case of failure to fulfil this obligation: in case of three consecutive unjustified absences in committee, the senator is deemed to have resigned and cannot be replaced in the course of the year. His duty allowance is reduced by one half until the opening of the following ordinary session (Art. 15 (3) of the Standing Orders of the Senate). However, these provisions have never been applied.
· Body competent to judge such cases/to impose penalties: the President of the Senate
||· The rules governing discipline within Parliament are contained in chapter XVII of the Standing Orders of the Senate (Art. 92 to 100).
· Disciplinary measures foreseen (Art. 92 of the Standing Orders of the Senate):
- Call to order (Art. 93 (1) to (3) of the Standing Orders of the Senate)
- Call to order with entry in the record (Art. 93 (4) of the Standing Orders of the Senate)
- Simple censure with one month's forfeiture of one third of the basic salary and the entire duty allowance (Art. 94, 96, 97 (1) of the Standing Orders of the Senate)
- Censure with temporary exclusion and two month's forfeiture of one third of the basic salary and the entire duty allowance (Art. 95, 96 and 97 (2) of the Standing Orders of the Senate)
· Specific cases:
- Criminal acts (Art. 98 of the Standing Orders of the Senate): Senate is informed; Public Prosecutor is informed
- Abuse of office (Art. 99 of the Standing Orders of the Senate): simple censure with one month's forfeiture of one third of the basic salary and of the entire duty allowance, or censure with temporary exclusion and with two month's forfeiture of one third of the basic salary and the entire duty allowance.
- Non-compliance with the provisions of Art. 6 (IV) of Order N° 58-1100 of 17.11.1958 relating to the unpublished work of a committee of inquiry (Art. 100 of the Standing Orders of the Senate): exclusion from the committee
- Insult, provocation, threat or contempt (Art. 94 N°3 and 95 (1) N°3 of the Standing Orders of the Senate): simple censure, with one month's forfeiture of one third of the basic salary and of the entire duty allowance, censure with temporary exclusion and two month's forfeiture of one third of the basic salary and of the entire duty allowance.
· Competent body to judge such cases/to impose penalties:
- Call to order: the President
- Censure: the Senate
- Criminal acts: the President; the Board
- Abuse of office: the Senate
- Failure to respect the provisions of Art. 6 (IV) of Order N° 58-1100 of 17.11.1958 relating to the unpublished work of a committee of inquiry: the Senate
- Insult, provocation, threat or contempt: the Senate
Application of penalities falls to the President of the Senate, who is responsible, under Art. 90 (2) of the Standing Orders of the Senate, for policing the Senate on its behalf.
- Call to order (Art. 93 (1) and (3) of the Standing Orders of the Senate)
- Censure (Art. 95 (3) and Art. 96 of the Standing Orders of the Senate): Senators are always entitled to be heard or to have themselves be heard through one of his colleagues.
- Specific cases
|Code (rules) of conduct
||· This concept does not exist in the country's juridical system, but there are some relevant laws (Art. 99 of the Standing Orders (see Discipline), Art. 150 and 151 of the Electoral Code, Organic Law N° 88-226 and Law N° 88-227 of 11.03.1988 relating to financial transparency of political life, Law N° 93-122 of 29.01.1993 called the Anti-Corruption Law, Law on the financing of political parties, Law on the concurrent holding of more than one public office, etc.).
|Relations between MPs and pressure group
||· There are no legal provisions in this field.