The Speaker of the Senate
The Speaker is elected for a three year term after each renewal of the Senate membership. He is the national representative of the French upper house and presides over its debates. The Speaker exercises important constitutional prerogatives. For instance, the President of the Republic must consult him in the event of dissolution of the National Assembly. The Speaker also appoints 3 of the 9 members of the Constitutional Council and is empowered to submit to that Council any law or treaty that he considers unconstitutional.
The Senate Speaker is the second most important figure in the Republic. In the event of the presidency of the Republic becoming vacant - through resignation, death or any other cause - the Speaker of the Senate exercises the duties of the President until a new presidential election is held. However, he is not permitted to hold a referendum or dissolve the National Assembly. As Speaker of the Senate, Alain Poher temporarily took over the duties of President of the Republic in 1969 after the resignation of President de Gaulle and again, in 1974, at the death of President Pompidou.