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Sittings Department and Library of the Senate

January 2007
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January 2007


Drafted by the Sittings Department and the Library of the Senate




Article 1

1. - At the opening of the first sitting after each partial renewal of the Senate, the Chair shall be taken by the oldest member present, until the President is proclaimed.

2. - The six youngest Senators present shall carry out the duties of Secretary until the election of the Definitive Bureau.

3. - No debate may take place if the provisional President is in the Chair.

Article 2

1. - The installation of the provisional President shall be immediately followed in a public sitting by the election of the President.

2. - The remaining members of the Definitive Bureau shall be appointed at the next sitting.

3. - The Definitive Bureau shall be fully empowered to preside over the Senate's deliberations, and to organise and manage all services under the conditions determined by these Standing Orders.

Article 3

1. - The Senate's Definitive Bureau is made up of:

- a President,

- six Deputy Chairmen,

- three Questeurs,

all elected for three years,

- twelve Secretaries,

appointed for three years.

2. - The Deputy Chairmen shall stand in for, and represent the President in his/her absence.

3. - When the President of the Senate is called upon to perform the duties of the President of the Republic, the Bureau shall appoint one of the Deputy Chairmen to replace him/her temporarily under Article 7 of the Constitution.

4. - The election of the President shall take place at the rostrum1(*).

5. - Tellers elected by the drawing of lots shall count the votes, and the result of the ballot shall be announced by the provisional President.

6. - If an absolute majority of the votes cast is not achieved on the first or second ballots, a relative majority on the third ballot shall suffice;  in the event of a tied ballot, the older candidate shall be declared to have won.

7. - The Deputy Chairmen and Questeurs shall be elected by secret ballot, in separate votes and using plurinominal voting slips.

8. - If there is not an absolute majority of votes cast in the first and second ballots, a relative majority on the third ballot shall suffice;  in the event of a tied vote, the President shall declare that the oldest member or members is/are elected.

9. - After the Deputy Chairmen and Questeurs have been elected, the Chairmen of the political Groups shall meet to draw up a list of candidates for the post of Secretary:  this list shall reflect the proportional representation of Groups, and take account of the representation of Groups in other posts in the Bureau. This list shall be forwarded to the President, who shall publish it.

10. - The list may be challenged within one hour on the grounds that the rule on proportional representation has not been applied. To be admissible, the challenge must be set out in writing, signed by at least thirty Senators or by the Chairman of a political Group, and shall be forwarded to the President.

11. - When the deadline for challenging the list has passed, and if no challenge has been formulated, the list of candidates shall be ratified by the Senate, and the President shall announce those who have been appointed Secretaries.

12. - If, on the contrary, the President is presented with a challenge, he/she shall report it to the Senate, which will in turn rule on whether to consider it, following a debate in which only one speaker `for' and one speaker `against', may be heard neither of whom may speak for more than a quarter of an hour.

13. - Rejection of the proposal to consider the matter shall be tantamount to ratification of the list that has been presented, and the candidates whose names appear on it shall be immediately proclaimed Secretaries by the President. Consideration of the matter shall result in the list of disputes being declared null. In these circumstances, the Chairmen of political Groups shall meet immediately to draw up a fresh list following the same rules as for the first list.

Article 4

After the Definitive Bureau has been elected, the President of the Senate shall inform the President of the Republic and the National Assembly that the Senate has been constituted.

* 1 See article XV of the General Instruction of the Bureau of the Senate (GIB).

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