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An Overview on the French Parliamentary system

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The French parliament is a bicameral Parliament consisting of the National Assembly and Senate. Each of these assemblies follows different methods for organization and the election of their own system. The National Assembly comprises 577 deputies who are elected by majority of votes in two rounds having a term of five years, except in case of dissolution. In case of dissolution, there is a general legislative election and the Constitution specifies that no further dissolution can occur before a period of one year has elapsed. Candidates for parliamentary election must bring an alternative with them. The system allows for replacement and thus a member can appoint a deputy to take his place.

If the minister loses his function, he does not regain his seat, unless the deputy agrees to resign in order to allow the minister to appear at a by-election. If the member resigns, the alternate member cannot replace him and there will be a new election. The National Assembly elects its president and vice president. The Speaker of the National Assembly is elected for five years same according to the term of House. He has his own constitutional responsibilities. Thus he provides advice and is responsible on dissolution as per Article 16. He may seize the Constitutional Council. He appoints three members of the Constitutional Council, once in every three years. He also appoints members of the Supreme Judicial Council and members of various independent administrative authorities."

The Senate is the second chamber of Parliament, which consists of 348 senators, elected for 6 years. It is renewable by third parties. They are elected by indirect universal suffrage by the electors (about 145,000 electors in France). Depending on the size of the department, the election shall be conducted in two rounds or so by party-wise proportional representation.

With regard to ordinary legislation, the Government may in case of disagreement between the National Assembly and the Senate, decide that the National Assembly vote only the text. Similarly, only the National Assembly may jeopardize the Government's responsibility, even if Article 49 paragraph 4 of the Constitution allows the Prime Minister to make a policy statement before the Senate. The Senate, however, cannot vote a motion of censure against the Government. However, with regard to constitutional amendments, no constitutional amendment can be passed without the prior vote of the Senate. In case of a vote by Congress, the National Assembly is numerically larger, the Senate's role is somewhat diminished. But the Senate vote is as important as voting members.

Parliament meets in a single session that begins on the first working day of October and ends on the last business day of June. The revision of August 4, 1995, was designed to enhance the role of Parliament, and therefore adopted the principle of single session. The Constitution provides that in exceptional cases, the President of the Republic, at the request of a majority of members, or at its option, may convene an extraordinary parliament.

On the basis of the status of parliamentarians, there are different rights and obligations. The Parliament aims primarily to create the best conditions for it to be able to perform its function.

Tags: French parliament, Senate, Constitutional Council

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