French Senate Elections
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French Senate Elections
Department distribution since 2008

Senators in France are elected by indirect universal suffrage, by a panel of "electors". Half of the Senate seats are up for election every three years; the term of office is six years.

The last elections were held on 24 September 2017 for series 1 and 27 September 2020 for series 2.

Third Republic

The law of 24 February 1875 on the organization of the Senate, the Senate created the Third Republic, required that the Senate be composed of 300 members, 225 elected by the departments and colonies and 75 elected by the National Assembly. These members were appointed for life. Some of them were still senators well after the law of 10 December 1884 no longer allowed senators to be appointed by the National Assembly. The last irremovable senator (inamovible in French) died in 1918. There were a total of 116 irremovable senators.

Fifth Republic

In 2000, Parliament passed a law to move to a proportional list in the departments with three or more senators, and an increase in the number of delegates for large municipalities, but this measure was vetoed by the Constitutional Council because the Senate is to represent the local authorities.[1]

In 2003, the term of office changed from nine years to six years. Senators were no longer elected by thirds but by halves, and the two series are elected three years apart. The minimum age was reduced from 35 to 30 years, proportional representation began applying only to departments with four or more senators.[2]

In 2005, the term of office of all senators was extended for one year, to put the senate elections right after the municipal elections.[3]

In 2011, the minimum age for senators was decreased from 30 to 24 years.[4]

In 2012, Commission sur la rénovation et la déontologie de la vie publique (Committee on elections and ethics in public life) led by Lionel Jospin made several proposals to Parliament: ensure a fairer representation of local authorities in the Senate using a weighted vote of electors and removing deputies from the electoral college, extending the use of proportional representation for the election of senators and lowering to 18 the minimum age of eligibility the Senate. Only the extension of proportional representation to Departments of three senators or more and is retained, as well as increasing the number of delegates from the major cities in a law enacted in 2013.[5] The mode of election of overseas senators is reformed.

Current system

The number of elected senators in the departments is 326,[6] the elected senators in other communes is 8 and there are 12 senators representing French outside France.[7]

Except where specified otherwise, this section describes only the method of electing senators for departments. This section is up to date with changes as of 2013.

Number of delegates per capita in 2013[8]
Inhabitants No. communes Population No. of delegates per commune No. delegates No. per delegates No. of additional delegates per commune (law before 2013) No. per delegates in total (before Law 2013) No. of additional delegates per commune (after the 2013 law) No. per delegates in total (after law of 2013)
1-499 20,009 4,545,018 1 20,009 227 0 227 0 227
500-1,499 10,003 8,578,800 3 30,009 286 0 286 0 286
1,500-2,499 2604 5,008,589 5 13,020 385 0 385 0 385
2,500-3,499 1171 3,459,030 7 8197 422 0 422 0 422
3,500-4,999 919 3,814,639 15 13785 277 0 277 0 277
5,000-8,999 990 6,539,169 15 14,850 440 0 440 0 440
9,000-9,999 121 1,152,482 29 3509 328 0 328 0 328
10,000-19,999 511 7,092,875 33 16,863 421 0 421 0 421
20,000-29,999 187 4,591,362 35 6545 702 0 702 0 702
30,000-39,999 83 2,855,224 39 3237 882 323 802 420 781
40,000-49,999 54 2,376,423 43 2322 1023 733 778 919 733
50,000-59,999 41 2,223,473 45 1845 1205 973 789 1223 725
60,000-79,999 27 1,852,676 49 1323 1400 1031 787 1290 709
80,000-99,999 16 1,409,989 53 848 1663 923 796 1154 704
100,000-149,999 24 2,986,955 55 1320 2263 2255 836 2822 721
150,000-199,999 6 998,130 59 354 2820 815 854 1020 726
200,000-249,999 3 673,895 61 183 3682 853 880 728 740
3 814,103 65 195 4175 722 888 904 741
300,000+ 5 4,343,009 69 475 9187 4211 931 5264 760
Total 36,777 65,336,841 138,889 470 12,569 431 15,744 423

In departments

Senators are elected in each department by an electoral college consisting of:

  1. deputies and senators;
  2. regional councilors of the departmental section for the department (as appropriate, advisers of the Corsican Assembly, councilors at the meeting of Guyana,[Note 1] counselors at the Martinique Assembly[Note 1]);
  3. councillors;
  4. delegates of municipal councils or alternates to these delegates;[9]
    • Local councils elect one of their members in municipalities with fewer than 9,000 inhabitants:
      • 1 delegate for municipal councils of 7 and 11 members (less than 500 inhabitants);
      • 3 delegates for the municipal councils of 15 members (less than 1500 inhabitants);
      • 5 delegates for the municipal councils of 19 members (less than 2500 inhabitants);
      • 7 delegates to the municipal councils of 23 members (less than 3500);
      • 15 delegates for 27 municipal councils and 29 members (less than 9000 inhabitants).[10]
    • In the communes of 9000 or more inhabitants, all councilors are representatives by law. In addition, in the municipalities of over 30,000 inhabitants, municipal councils elect additional delegates at 1 for every 800 inhabitants in excess of 30,000.[11] In practice, the additional delegates are often permanent, activists or supporters of political parties, employees of elected officials, relatives or friends.[12]

In New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna

Senators are elected by an electoral college consisting of:

In Mayotte, Saint-Barthélemy, Saint-Martin and Saint Pierre and Miquelon

Senators are elected by an electoral college consisting of:

French expatriates

Since the law of 22 July 2013, senators representing French expatriates are elected by a panel formed from:

  1. MPs elected by French expatriates;
  2. Consular advisers;
  3. Consular delegates.

In the event that a consular counselor or consular representative is also a member elected by French expatriates, a replacement is appointed him on his presentation, the President of the Assembly of French Citizens Abroad.[18]

Eligibility

The procedures for electing Senators are set in the Electoral Code. Being an elector has the same conditions as being a Senator, except that the minimum age is 24 years.[19]

Any Senate candidate must be a French national to run for these offices and "No one can be elected if he has not satisfied the obligations imposed by the Code of National Service" (translated),[20][21] adults subject to guardianship or trusteeship are ineligible.[22]

The office of senator can not be combined with that of an MP, a member of the European Parliament, a member of the French government, a member of the Constitutional Council, or of the French Economic, Social and Environmental Council.[23]

The office of Senator can not be combined with military service, or the exercise of more than one of the following offices: Regional Adviser, member of the Corsican Assembly, general councillor, councilor to Paris, or councillor of a town of at least 3500 inhabitants;[24] the constitutional ombudsman and Comptroller General of prisons are ineligible during their term of office;[25] Prefects of France are ineligible in any constituency included in whole or in part within the jurisdiction in which they hold or have held office for up to three years from the date of the poll[26] (non-exhaustive list).

A draft organic law presented by the Cabinet on April 3, 2013 seeks to prohibit the accumulation of local executive functions with the office of Deputy or Senator starting March 31, 2017.[27]

Organization of elections

In departments where three[28] or fewer senators are elected, the election is a majority vote in two rounds. To be elected in the first round, a candidate must receive an absolute majority of votes cast and a number of votes equal to at least a quarter of registered voters. In the second ballot, a simple majority suffices. In case of a tie, the older candidate is elected.[29] Each candidate runs with a replacement of different gender[30]

In departments where four[31] or more senators are elected, the election takes place using proportional representation following the rule of the highest average, without panachage or preferential voting. On each list, seats are allocated to candidates based on their order in the list.[32]

Electors are required to vote, a fine of 100 Euro must be paid in the event of an unjustified abstention. Delegates who voted, and voters of law who do not receive compensation for their duties receive a travel allowance[33][34][35]

Replacement of senators

Senators whose seat becomes vacant due to death, accepting a position with the government, the Constitutional Council or Defender, or the extension beyond the six months of a temporary mission entrusted by the government are replaced. If Senator was elected by a majority vote, the elected replacement takes his or her place. In the case of proportional representation, the first unelected candidate from the same list as the Senator is the replacement[36]

In case of cancellation of the elections, in the event of a vacancy other than those mentioned above, the procedure is to hold elections within three months. It is not, however, preceded by any election in the year before partial election of the Senate.[37]

Notes

  1. ^ a b Applicable after the merger of the General Council and regional council in March 2014.

References

  1. ^ "LOI no 2000-641 du 10 juillet 2000 relative à l'élection des sénateurs" [ACT No. 2000-641 of 10 July 2000 concerning the election of senators] (in French). LegiFrance. 10 November 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  2. ^ "LOI n° 2003-697 du 30 juillet 2003 portant réforme de l'élection des sénateurs". LegiFrance. 11 November 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  3. ^ "LOI organique n° 2005-1562 du 15 décembre 2005 modifiant les dates des renouvellements du Sénat" [Organic law No. 2005-1562 of 15 December 2005 amending the dates for election to the Senate] (in French). LegiFrance. 11 November 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  4. ^ "LOI organique n° 2011-410 du 14 avril 2011 relative à l'élection des députés et sénateurs" [Organic law No. 2011-410 of 14 April 2011 on the election of deputies and senators] (in French). LegiFrance. 11 November 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  5. ^ "LOI n° 2013-702 du 2 août 2013 relative à l'élection des sénateurs" [LAW No. 2013-702 of 2 August 2013 on the election of senators] (in French). LegiFrance. 11 November 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  6. ^ "Code électoral - Article LO274" [Electoral Code - Article LO274] (in French). LegiFrance. 31 July 2003. Retrieved 2014.
  7. ^ "La nouvelle répartition des sénateurs" [The new distribution of senators] (in French). Sénat. Archived from the original on 7 May 2017. Retrieved 2014.
  8. ^ Impact study of the law No. 2013-702 of 2 August 2013 on the election of senators.
  9. ^ "Code électoral - Article L280" [Electoral Code - Article L280] (in French). Legifrance. 4 August 2013. Retrieved 2014.
  10. ^ "Code électoral - Article L284" [Electoral Code - Article L284] (in French). LegiFrance. 23 March 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  11. ^ "Code électoral - Article L285" [Electoral Code - Article L285] (in French). LegiFrance. 11 November 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  12. ^ Perrault, Guillaume (23 September 2011). "Les grands électeurs ne sont pas tous des élus" [The electors are not all elected]. Le Figaro.fr (in French). Retrieved 2014.
  13. ^ "Code électoral - Article L441" [Electoral Code - Article L441] (in French). LegiFrance. 17 November 2013. Retrieved 2014.
  14. ^ "Code électoral - Article L475" [Electoral Code - Article L475] (in French). LegiFrance. 17 November 2013. Retrieved 2014.
  15. ^ "Code électoral - Article L502" [Electoral Code - Article L502] (in French). LegiFrance. 17 November 2013. Retrieved 2014.
  16. ^ "Code électoral - Article L529" [Electoral Code - Article L529] (in French). LegiFrance. 17 November 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  17. ^ "Code électoral - Article L557" [Electoral Code - Article L557] (in French). LegiFrance. 17 November 2013. Retrieved 2014.
  18. ^ "LOI n° 2013-659 du 22 juillet 2013 relative à la représentation des Français établis hors de France" [LAW No. 2013-659 of 22 July 2013 concerning the representation of French outside France] (in French). LegiFrance. 11 November 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  19. ^ "Code électoral - Article LO296" [Electoral Code - Article LO296] (in French). LegiFrance. 25 September 2011. Retrieved 2014.
  20. ^ "Code électoral - Article L44" [Electoral Code - Article L44] (in French). LegiFrance. 6 April 2000. Retrieved 2014.
  21. ^ "Code électoral - Article L45" [Electoral Code - Article L45] (in French). LegiFrance. 19 May 2011. Retrieved 2014.
  22. ^ "Code électoral - Article LO129" [Electoral Code - Article LO129] (in French). LegiFrance. 20 April 2011. Retrieved 2014.
  23. ^ "Code électoral - Article LO137" [Electoral Code - Article LO137] (in French). LegiFrance. 28 October 1964. Retrieved 2014.
  24. ^ "Code électoral - Article LO141" [Electoral Code - Article LO141] (in French). LegiFrance. 23 March 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  25. ^ "Code électoral - Article LO130" (in French). LegiFrance. 20 April 2011. Retrieved 2014.
  26. ^ "Code électoral - Article LO132" [Electoral Code - Article LO132] (in French). LegiFrance. 20 April 2011. Retrieved 2014.
  27. ^ "Dossiers législatifs - LOI organique n° 2014-125 du 14 février 2014 interdisant le cumul de fonctions exécutives locales avec le mandat de député ou de sénateur" [Legislative issues - organic LAW 2014-125 of February 14, 2014 prohibiting the combination of local executive functions with the office of Deputy or Senator] (in French). LegiFrance. Retrieved 2014.
  28. ^ https://www.senat.fr/senatsdumonde/france/france.html
  29. ^ "Code électoral - Article L294" [Electoral Code - Article L294] (in French). LegiFrance. 4 August 2013. Retrieved 2014.
  30. ^ "Code électoral - Article L299" [Electoral Code - Article L299] (in French). LegiFrance. 4 August 2013. Retrieved 2014.
  31. ^ https://www.senat.fr/senatsdumonde/france/france.html
  32. ^ "Code électoral - Article L295" [Electoral Code - Article L295] (in French). LegiFrance. 4 August 2013. Retrieved 2014.
  33. ^ "Code électoral - Article L317" [Electoral Code - Article L317] (in French). LegiFrance. 28 October 1964. Retrieved 2014.
  34. ^ "Code électoral - Article L318" [Electoral Code - Article L318] (in French). LegiFrance. 11 May 2004. Retrieved 2014.
  35. ^ Bouchet-Petersen, Jonathan (23 September 2011). "Sénatoriales : un vote obligatoire... mais défrayé" [Senate: Compulsory voting ... but defrayed]. Liberation Politique (in French). Retrieved 2014.
  36. ^ "Code électoral - Article LO319" [Electoral Code - Article LO319] (in French). LegiFrance. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 2014.
  37. ^ "Code électoral - Article LO322" [Electoral Code - Article LO322] (in French). LegiFrance. 28 October 1964. Retrieved 2014.

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