Elections in France
France is a representative democracy. Public officials in the legislative and executive branches are either elected by the citizens or appointed by elected officials. Referendums may be called to consult the French citizenry directly on a particular question one which concerns amendment to the Constitution. France elects on its national level a head of state – the president – and a legislature; the president is elected for a five-year term, directly by the citizens. The Parliament has two chambers; the National Assembly has 577 members, elected for a five-year term in single seat-constituencies directly by the citizens. The Senate has 348 members, elected for six-year terms. 328 members are elected by an electoral college consisting of elected representatives from each of 96 departments in metropolitan France, 8 of which are elected from other dependencies, 12 of which are elected by the French Assembly of French Citizens Abroad which has replaced the High Council of French Citizens Abroad a 155-member assembly elected by citizens living abroad.
In addition, French citizens elect a variety of local governments. There are public elections for some non-political positions, such as those for the judges of courts administering labour law, elected by workers and employers, or those for judges administering cases of rural land leases. France does not have a fully-fledged two-party system; however French politics has ordinarily displayed some tendencies characterizing a two-party system in which power alternates between stable coalitions, each being led by a major party: on the left, the Socialist Party, on the right, Les Républicains and its predecessors. This pattern was upset in 2017, when neither of those parties' candidates reached the second round of the presidential election and the newly-formed party En Marche! gained both the presidency and a comfortable majority in the National Assembly. Elections are conducted according to rules set down in the Constitution of France, organisational laws, the electoral code. Voting is not compulsory.
Elections are held on Sundays. The campaigns end at midnight the Friday before the election; the voting stations open at 8 am and close at 6 pm in small towns or at 8 pm in cities, depending on prefectoral decisions. By law, publication of results or estimates is prohibited prior to that time; the first estimate of the results are thus known at 8 pm, Paris time. It has been alleged. For this reason, since the 2000s, elections in French possessions in the Americas, as well as embassies and consulates there, are held on Saturdays as a special exemption; the next election will take place in 2022. Current President Emmanuel Macron is eligible for re-election in that year. With the exception of senatorial election, for which there is an electoral college, the voters are French citizens over the age of 18 registered on the electoral rolls. People are automatically registered on reaching the age of 18. For municipal and European, but not national elections, citizens aged 18 or older of other European Union countries may vote in France.
Registration is not compulsory. Citizens may register either in their place of residence or in a place where they have been on the roll of taxpayers for local taxes for at least 5 years, but not in more than one place. Citizens living abroad may register at the consulate responsible for the region. Only citizens registered as voters can run for public office. There are exceptions to the above rules. Convicted criminals may be deprived of their civic rights, which include the right to vote, for a certain period of time depending on the crime. In particular, elected officials who have abused public funds may be deprived of the right to run for national public office for as long as 10 years; the application of such rules in the case of certain politicians has been controversial. Voting by proxy is possible when the citizen cannot attend the polling station The citizen designates a proxy, who must be a voter from the same commune; the designation of the proxy must be made before a capable witness: a judge, a judicial clerk, or an officier of judicial police, or, outside France, before an ambassador or consul.
In the case of handicapped or ill people, an officer of judicial police or delegate thereof can be sent to the home of the citizen to witness the designation. The procedure is meant to avoid pressures on voters. In all elections where there is a single official to be elected for a given area, including the two major national elections, two-round runoff voting is used. For elections to the European Parliament and some local elect
A political party is an organized group of people with common views, who come together to contest elections and hold power in the government. The party agrees on some proposed policies and programmes, with a view to promoting the collective good or furthering their supporters' interests. While there is some international commonality in the way political parties are recognized and in how they operate, there are many differences, some are significant. Many political parties have an ideological core, but some do not, many represent ideologies different from their ideology at the time the party was founded. Many countries, such as Germany and India, have several significant political parties, some nations have one-party systems, such as China and Cuba; the United States is in practice a two-party system but with many smaller parties participating and a high degree of autonomy for individual candidates. Political factions have existed in democratic societies since ancient times. Plato writes in his Republic on the formation of political cliques in Classical Athens, the tendency of Athenian citizens to vote according to factional loyalty rather than for the public good.
In the Roman Republic, Polybius coined the term ochlocracy to describe the tendency of politicians to mobilise popular factionalist sentiment against their political rivals. Factional politics remained a part of Roman political life through the Imperial period and beyond, the poet Juvenal coined the phrase "bread and circuses" to describe the political class pandering to the citizenry through diversionary entertainments rather than through arguments about policy. "Bread and circuses" survived as part of Byzantine political life - for example, the Nika revolt during the reign of Justinian was a riot between the "Blues" and the "Greens"—two chariot racing factions at the Hippodrome, who received patronage from different Senatorial factions and religious sects. The patricians who sponsored the Blues and the Greens competed with each other to hold grander games and public entertainments during electoral campaigns, in order to appeal to the citizenry of Constantinople; the first modern political factions, can be said to have originated in early modern Britain.
The first political factions, cohering around a basic, if fluid, set of principles, emerged from the Exclusion Crisis and Glorious Revolution in late 17th century England. The Whigs supported Protestant constitutional monarchy against absolute rule, they were interested in the citizens of United Kingdom being free from the aristocracy and opposed to any tyranny, however they supported the constitutional aristocracy and does not consider the British nobility abusive because of its limits; the leader of the Whigs was Robert Walpole, who maintained control of the government in the period 1721–1742. As the century wore on, the factions began to adopt more coherent political tendencies as the interests of their power bases began to diverge; the Whig party's initial base of support from the great aristocratic families widened to include the emerging industrial interests and wealthy merchants. As well as championing constitutional monarchy with strict limits on the monarch's power, the Whigs adamantly opposed a Catholic king as a threat to liberty, believed in extending toleration to nonconformist Protestants, or dissenters.
A major influence on the Whigs were the liberal political ideas of John Locke, the concepts of universal rights employed by Locke and Algernon Sidney. Although the Tories were out of office for half a century, for most of this period the Tories retained party cohesion, with occasional hopes of regaining office at the accession of George II and the downfall of the ministry of Sir Robert Walpole in 1742, they acted as a united, though unavailing, opposition to Whig corruption and scandals. At times they cooperated with the "Opposition Whigs", Whigs who were in opposition to the Whig government, they regained power with the accession of George III in 1760 under Lord Bute. When they lost power, the old Whig leadership dissolved into a decade of factional chaos with distinct "Grenvillite", "Bedfordite", "Rockinghamite", "Chathamite" factions successively in power, all referring to themselves as "Whigs". Out of this chaos, the first distinctive parties emerged; the first such party was the Rockingham Whigs under the leadership of Charles Watson-Wentworth and the intellectual guidance of the political philosopher Edmund Burke.
Burke laid out a philosophy that described the basic framework of the political party as "a body of men united for promoting by their joint endeavours the national interest, upon some particular principle in which they are all agreed". As opposed to the instability of the earlier factions, which were tied to a particular leader and could disintegrate if removed from power, the party was centred around a set of core principles and remained out of power as a united opposition to government. A coalition including the Rockingham Whigs, led by the Earl of She
Gérard Philippe René André Larcher is a French politician serving as President of the Senate since 2014 holding the position from 2008 to 2011. A member of The Republicans, he was a Senator for the Yvelines department from 1986 to 2004 and has been again since 2007, he served as Minister of Labour from 2004 to 2007 under President Jacques Chirac. Gérard Larcher was born in Orne to a Roman Catholic family, he is the son of Philippe Larcher, director of a textile factory and former mayor of Saint-Michel-des-Andaines, a small town in the Orne. Upon his second marriage with Christine Weiss, a dentist, he converted to Protestantism. From this union were born three children: Aymeric, Dorothée and Charlotte. Graduated from the National Veterinary School of Lyon, Larcher worked from 1974 to 1979 in the France team of equestrian sports. In 1976, he joined, as a high school student, the movement of young Gaullists, because he admired Charles de Gaulle and supported the policy of the founder of the Fifth Republic.
In 1983, he was elected Mayor of Rambouillet, in Yvelines. Two years he was elected regional councilor of Ile-de-France. On 28 September 1986, for the first time, Gérard Larcher was elected to be Senator for Yvelines, under the banner of the Rally for the Republic. Aged 37, he was one of the youngest French Senators. Appointed Secretary of the Senate in 1989, he was re-elected as a Senator in 1995 and elected as Vice President of the Senate in 1997. In 2001, he was appointed as President of the Senate's Economic Affairs Commission. In March 2004, after the defeat of the right in regional elections, Gérard Larcher was appointed Delegate Minister to the Minister of Social Affairs in the cabinet of Jean-Pierre Raffarin, he retained his place in the government in June 2005, after the appointment of Dominique de Villepin as Prime Minister. In May 2007, the new President, Nicolas Sarkozy, suggested he enter the government of François Fillon as Minister of Agriculture, but Gérard Larcher declined and preferred to sit in the Senate.
In the following months, he prepared his candidacy for President of the Senate, to succeed Christian Poncelet. On 31 July 2008, he was declared a candidate for the UMP primary to elect the President of the Senate, against former Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin. On 24 September, he was elected as the UMP's candidate for the Presidency of the Senate with 78 votes, against 56 votes for Raffarin and 17 votes for Senator Philippe Marini. Gérard Larcher was elected as President of the Senate on 1 October 2008 receiving 173 votes against 134 votes for Socialist candidate Jean-Pierre Bel; the left won a Senate majority in the September 2011 Senate election, Jean-Pierre Bel was elected as President of the Senate on 1 October 2011. He received 179 votes against 134 votes for Larcher, the right's candidate. After the victory of the right in September 2014 Senate elections, Larcher was again nominated for the post of President of the Senate by members of the UMP group, he was elected as President of the Senate on 1 October 2014.
Governmental function Delegate Minister for Labor Relations: 2004-2005 Delegate Minister for Employment and for Employability of young: 2005-2007Senate mandates Senate of France Senator of Yvelines: 1986-2004 Vice President of the Senate: 1997-2001 Président of the Economic Affairs Commission in the Senate: 2001-2004 Senator of Yvelines: 2004 Senator of Yvelines: Since 2007 President of the Senate of France: 2008-2011 President of the Senate of France: Since 2014Regional Council Regional councillor of Île-de-France: 1985-1992Municipal Council Municipal councillor of Rambouillet: Since 1983 Mayor of Rambouillet: 1983-2004 Deputy Mayor of Rambouillet: 2004-2007 Mayor of Rambouillet: 2007-2014 Gérard Larcher’s official site Presidency of the Senate Gérard Larcher’s official Senate page
Court of Audit (France)
The Court of Auditors is a French administrative court charged with conducting financial and legislative audits of most public institutions and some private institutions, including the central Government, national public corporations, social security agencies, public services. The Court is a cross between a court of exchequer, comptroller general's office, auditor general's office in common-law countries, it is as well a Grand Corps of the French State recruiting among the best students graduating from the Ecole nationale d'administration. The Court's three duties are to conduct financial audits of accounts, conduct good governance audits, provide information and advice to the French Parliament and Administration; the Court verifies the proper handling of public money. Established in 1807, the Court is the successor to the Paris Court of Accounts under the monarchy, or Ancien Régime, had inherent jurisdiction to audit all public accounting officials and agencies; the Court of Audit is independent from the executive branches of Government.
However, the 1946 and 1958 French constitutions made it the Court's duty to assist the Cabinet and Parliament in regulating government spending. The president of the Court of Audit is appointed by Order-in-Council of the Cabinet. Once appointed, the president of the Court and division presidents have security of tenure; the Court has its own Office of the Prosecutor - with a Chief Prosecutor, Chief Deputy Prosecutor, two deputy prosecutors - that represents the Government before the Court. The Court is split into seven divisions, each with nearly 30 judges ordinary and deputy judges and headed by a division president. Jurisdiction is split between the seven divisions by subject matter, e.g. finance and social security, so forth. The Court's president is Didier Migaud. Other judicial officers are split into three groups by rank: puisne judges consider and adjudicate cases in panels deputy judges divided into 2 classes; the French Court of Audit has original jurisdiction to audit and adjudicate accounts made by public and government accountants.
The Court has authority to audit persons acting but not certified as a public accountant. If an account is found to be correct the Court issues a quietus to discharge the accountant. If, the account is found to be in error a debet order is issued against the defaulter. Either order is subject to appeal in final appeal at the French Supreme Court. Audits focus on: Government accounting and funds Public corporations National and public institutions, social security organizations and sub-subsidiaries of public corporations Government-funded organizations Publicly funded organizations A decision from a lower audit court may be appealed at the main Court of Audit within two months of its being handed down. Afterwards, if the parties are still not satisfied, the Council of State will hear the case on final appeal; the French Court of Audit puts together its auditing program independently and is vested with broad powers of review and examination. It submits an annual audit report to the French President and to Parliament.
The report provides a detailed account of the government's poor, or fraudulent and criticizes poor governance and use of public funds. The Court audits authorizing officers and their expenditures. In addition to reporting poor practices, the Court judges the accounting of public financial and budgetary officials, collection agencies, or treasury departments, e.g. treasurers, paymasters-general, tax collectors, certified public accountants, can fine them for late reporting. In such cases, the Court fines public accounting officials for the exact amount of any sum of money that, due to an error on their part, they have unduly paid or failed to recover on behalf of the State. A debet, from Latin "he owes" and not limited in amount, is entered against a defaulting person, the defaulter becomes the State's debtor. Public and government accountants must therefore have performance liability insurance. However, the Ministry of Finance alleviates a defaulter by granting an abatement of his arrears as the full amount is too much to pay out of pocket.
If an account is audited and found not to be in default the Court issues a quietus acquitting and discharging the official and settling the account. The Court of Audit of France stands above and heads 27 regional inferior financial courts referred to in French as Chambres régionales des comptes, or regional audit courts; the Court of Audit acts as the administrative head and court of appeal for the financial stream, hearing appeals from regional courts and issuing rule promulgation orders and administrative directives. Regional audit courts were established in 1982 to help unburden the main Court of Audit of its heavy caseload. Since their creation, they have original jurisdiction for most local and regional accounting matters in continental France and its overseas dependencies; this means they audit accounts as well as public institutions to check for fraud, embezzlement, or misappropriation. In
Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs
The Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs is the ministry in the government of France that handles France's foreign relations. Since 1855, its headquarters has been located on the Quai d'Orsay, 37. "Quai d'Orsay" is used as a metonym for the ministry. Its cabinet minister, the Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs is responsible for the foreign relations of France; the current minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, was appointed in May 2017. In 1547, secretaries to the King became specialized, writing correspondence to foreign governments, negotiating peace treaties; the four French secretaries of state where foreign relations were divided by region, in 1589, became centralized with one becoming first secretary responsible for international relations. The Ancien Régime position of Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs became Foreign Minister around 1723, was renamed "Minister of Foreign Affairs" in 1791 after the French Revolution. All ministerial positions were abolished in 1794 by the National Convention and re-established with the Directory.
For a brief period in the 1980s, the office was retitled Minister for External Relations. As of 17 May 2017, the ministry is designated the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs and led by Jean-Yves Le Drian. There are multiple services under its authority, along with that of some other ministers. Under the authority of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, that of Cooperation and European Affairs, that of Foreign and European Affairs, there are numerous services directly related to the ministers. Here is a list of those services; the ministers' cabinet The office of cabinets, which gathers a personnel in charge of the administrative and logistics aspects of the three ministers' cabinets The budget control service General inspection of foreign affairs The prospective office The Protocole, upon which the President's protocole cell relies on The Crisis management Department 140 Ministries of Foreign Affairs on the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. Official site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Official treaty database of France Dictionnaire historique des institutions, mœurs et coutumes de la France, Adolphe Chéruel, L. Hachette et cie, 1855 "Ministries 1700–1870", Rulers.org
Foreign relations of France
In the 19th century France built a new colonial empire second only to the British Empire. It was humiliated in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71, which marked the rise of Germany to dominance in Europe. France fared poorly in the Second World War, it fought losing wars in Algeria. The Fourth Republic collapsed and the Fifth Republic began in 1958 to the present. Under Charles De Gaulle it tried to block British influence on the European community. Since 1945 France has been a founding member of the United Nations, of NATO, of the European Coal and Steel Community; as a charter member of the United Nations, France holds one of the permanent seats in the Security Council and is a member of most of its specialized and related agencies. France is a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean and the La Francophonie and plays a key role, both in regional and in international affairs. François Mitterrand, a Socialist, emphasized European unity and the preservation of France's special relationships with its former colonies in the face of "Anglo-Saxon influence."
A part of the enacted policies was formulated in the Socialist Party's 110 Propositions for France, the electoral program for the 1981 presidential election. He had a effective relationship with the conservative German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, they promoted French-German bilateralism in Europe and strengthened military cooperation between the two countries. Shortly after taking office, President Sarkozy began negotiations with Colombian president Álvaro Uribe and the left-wing guerrilla FARC, regarding the release of hostages held by the rebel group Franco-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt. According to some sources, Sarkozy himself asked for Uribe to release FARC's "chancellor" Rodrigo Granda.. Furthermore, he announced on 24 July 2007, that French and European representatives had obtained the extradition of the Bulgarian nurses detained in Libya to their country. In exchange, he signed with Gaddafi security, health care and immigration pacts – and a $230 million MILAN antitank missile sale.
The contract was the first made by Libya since 2004, was negotiated with MBDA, a subsidiary of EADS. Another 128 million euros contract would have been signed, according to Tripoli, with EADS for a TETRA radio system; the Socialist Party and the Communist Party criticized a "state affair" and a "barter" with a "Rogue state". The leader of the PS, François Hollande, requested the opening of a parliamentary investigation. On 8 June 2007, during the 33rd G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Sarkozy set a goal of reducing French CO2 emissions by 50% by 2050 in order to prevent global warming, he pushed forward the important Socialist figure of Dominique Strauss-Kahn as European nominee to the International Monetary Fund. Critics alleged that Sarkozy proposed to nominate Strauss-Kahn as managing director of the IMF to deprive the Socialist Party of one of its more popular figures. Sarkozy normalised what had been strained relations with NATO. In 2009, France again was a integrated NATO member. François Hollande has continued the same policy.
Socialist François Hollande won election in 2012 as president. He adopted a hawkish foreign-policy, in close collaboration with Germany in regard to opposing Russian moves against Ukraine, in sending the military to fight radical Islamists in Africa, he takes a hard line with regard to the Greek debt crisis. François Hollande launched two military operations in Africa: Operation Serval in Mali. France was the first European nation to join the United States in bombing the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Under President Hollande, France's stances on the civil war in Syria and Iran's nuclear program has been described as "hawkish". Sophie Meunier in 2017 ponders whether France is still relevant in world affairs: France does not have as much relative global clout as it used to. Decolonization... diminished France’s territorial holdings and therefore its influence. Other countries built up their armies; the message of “universal” values carried by French foreign policy has encountered much resistance, as other countries have developed following a different political trajectory than the one preached by France.
By the 1990s, the country had become, in the words of Stanley Hoffmann, an “ordinary power, neither a basket case nor a challenger.” Public opinion in the United States, no longer sees France as an essential power. The last time that its foreign policy put France back in the world spotlight was at the outset of the Iraq intervention... France’s refusal to join the US-led coalition.... In reality, France is still a relevant power in world affairs.... France is a country of major military importance nowadays.... France showed it mattered in world environmental affairs with....the Paris Agreement, a global accord to reduce carbon emissions. The election of Trump in 2016 may reinforce demands for France to step in and lead global environmental governance if the US disengages, as the new president has promised, from a variety of policies. Polls indicate that American president Barack Obama was popular in France, but Donald Trump has been unpopular. Natalie Nougayrède argues: Yet behind this widespread revulsion lies a diplomatic opportunity.
With the United States looking inward and Trump having torn up the traditional foreign policy rule book... Macron, is se
The French Parliament is the bicameral legislature of the French Republic, consisting of the Senate and the National Assembly. Each assembly conducts legislative sessions at a separate location in Paris: the Palais du Luxembourg for the Senate and the Palais Bourbon for the National Assembly; each house has its own rules of procedure. However, they may meet as a single house, the French Congress, convened at the Palace of Versailles, to revise and amend the Constitution of France. Parliament meets for a nine-month session each year. Under special circumstances the President can call an additional session. While parliamentary power has been diminished since the Fourth Republic, the National Assembly can still cause a government to fall if an absolute majority of the assembly members votes a motion of no confidence; as a result, the government is from the same political party as the Assembly and must be supported by a majority there to prevent a vote of no-confidence. However, the President appoints the Prime Minister and the ministers and is under no constitutional, mandatory obligation to make those appointments from the ranks of the parliamentary majority party.
Rare periods during which the President is not from the same political party as the Prime Minister are known as cohabitation. The President rather than the prime minister heads the Cabinet of Ministers; the government has a strong influence in shaping the agenda of Parliament. The government can link its term to a legislative text which it proposes, unless a motion of censure is introduced and passed, the text is considered adopted without a vote. However, this procedure has been limited by the 2008 constitutional amendment. Legislative initiative rests with the National Assembly. Members of Parliament enjoy parliamentary immunity. Both assemblies have committees. If necessary, they can establish parliamentary enquiry commissions with broad investigative power. However, the latter possibility is never exercised, since the majority can reject a proposition by the opposition to create an investigation commission; such a commission may only be created if it does not interfere with a judiciary investigation, meaning that in order to cancel its creation, one just needs to press charges on the topic concerned by the investigation commission.
Since 2008, the opposition may impose the creation of an investigation commission once a year against the wishes of the majority. However, they still can't lead investigations; the French Parliament, as a legislative body, should not be confused with the various parlements of the Ancien Régime in France, which were courts of justice and tribunals with certain political functions varying from province to province and as to whether the local law was written and Roman, or customary common law. The word "Parliament", in the modern meaning of the term, appeared in France in the 19th century, at the time of the constitutional monarchy of 1830–1848, it is never mentioned in any constitutional text until the Constitution of the 4th Republic in 1948. Before that time reference was made to "les Chambres" or to each assembly, whatever its name, but never to a generic term as in Britain, its form – unicameral, bicameral, or multicameral – and its functions have taken different forms throughout the different political regimes and according to the various French constitutions: Constitution of France Government of France History of France Politics of France This article is based on the article Parlement français from the French Wikipedia, retrieved on 13 October 2006.
Frank R. Baumgartner, "Parliament's Capacity to Expand Political Controversy in France", Legislative Studies Quarterly, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 33–54. JSTOR: 440044 Marc Abélès, Un ethnologue à l'Assemblée. Paris: Odile Jacob, 2000. An anthropological study of the French National Assembly, of its personnel, codes of behaviors and rites. Official website Site of the CHPP and of Parlement, Revue d'histoire politique