STANDING ORDERS OF THE SENATE
Sittings Department and Library of the SenateJanuary 2007
CHAPTER X - PROXY VOTING22(*)
Senators may only delegate their right to vote in the following circumstances:
1. illness, an accident or a serious family misfortune preventing a Senator from attending;
2. a temporary mission entrusted to him by the Government;
3. military service in peacetime or wartime;
4. participation in the work of an international assembly by virtue of a Senate appointment;
5. absence from the mainland of France (in the event of an extraordinary session);
6. by order of the Bureau of the Senate (cases of force majeure).
Article 64 23(*)
1. - The signed delegation must be written and addressed by the delegator to the delegate. This document will be valid for votes both in a public sitting and on Committees.
2. - For a delegation to be valid, it must be notified to the President of the Senate before the beginning of the vote, or before the beginning of the first of the votes in which the Senator concerned cannot participate. The notification must indicate the name of the Senator called to vote on behalf of the delegator and the reason for the impediment, which shall be assessed by the Bureau. In addition, both the delegation and the notification must indicate the duration of the impediment: if they do not, the delegation shall be deemed to be of eight days' duration. Unless it is renewed within this period of time, it shall lapse at the end of it.
3. - The delegate shall be informed by the President that the notification has been received and that the Bureau has agreed to it.
4. - Voting delegation may be withdrawn following the same procedure while the application period is in progress.
5. - The proxy vote may not be transferred by the delegate to another Senator.
6. - In an emergency, the delegation and notification may be carried out by telegram, subject to immediate confirmation following the procedure set out above. In these circumstances, the delegation shall cease to have effect after five working days from the day that the telegram is received if a letter of confirmation signed by the delegator is not received by the President of the Senate during this period.
7. - The provisions of paragraphs 2 to 6 above shall apply in all cases, whether they relate to proxy voting in ballots in public session or to votes on Committees.
1. - Any Government bill that is voted on by the Senate, but which does not become definitive, shall be sent immediately to the Government by the President of the Senate. If a Government bill is rejected, the President shall inform the Government accordingly.
2. - Any member's bill that is voted on by the Senate, but which does not become definitive, shall be transmitted immediately by the President of the Senate to the President of the National Assembly. The Government shall be informed that this has been done. In the event of the rejection of a member's bill that has been transmitted by the National Assembly, the President shall inform the President of the National Assembly and the Government of this.
3. - If the Senate adopts a Government or member's bill voted on by the National Assembly without amendment, the President of the Senate shall send the final text to the President of the Republic for it to be promulgated by the Government's General Secretariat. The President of the National Assembly shall be informed that this has been done.
Communications from the Senate to the Government shall be sent by the President to the Prime Minister.
1. - Any motion seeking to submit to referendum a Government bill dealing with issues defined in Article 11 of the Constitution must be signed by at least thirty Senators whose presence must be confirmed by a roll call. It may neither be subject to any condition nor include any amendment to the bill.
2. - Under a dispensation from the provisions in Article 29, such a motion shall be discussed in the first public sitting after it has been tabled.
3. - Closure of the discussion may be announced under the procedure set out in Article 38 of the Standing Orders.
1. - Adoption by the Senate of a motion leading to a referendum shall adjourn discussion of the Government bill if it has already commenced.
2. - An adopted motion shall be transmitted immediately to the President of the National Assembly together with the text to which it refers.
3. - By agreement between the two Assemblies, the deadline for adoption of the motion shall be fixed at thirty days. If the National Assembly does not adopt the motion within this time, discussion shall resume before the Senate at the point where it was interrupted. No new motion on the same Government bill shall be admissible thereafter.
4. - The thirty-day deadline shall be adjourned outside ordinary sessions. It shall also be curtailed if insertion on the agenda of discussion of the motion in the National Assembly is prevented by application of the procedure set out in Article 48 of the Constitution.
1. - If a motion leading to a referendum is referred to the Senate by the National Assembly, it shall be remitted immediately to the Committee that had the proposal referred to it.
2. - Discussion on this motion shall be placed on the agenda of the next possible sitting. The Senate shall give a ruling under the deadline procedure set out in Article 68.
1. - Subject to the provisions of this Article, any motion under Article 72-4 of the Constitution calling on the President of the Republic to consult the electorate in an overseas territory shall be governed by the same rules as those set out in these Standing Orders for draft resolutions.
2. - If the Senate adopts a motion tabled by one or more Senators, or amends a motion transmitted by the National Assembly, the President of the Senate shall transmit the text to the President of the National Assembly.
3. - If the Senate adopts a motion forwarded to it by the National Assembly without amendment, the President of the Senate shall send the final text to the President of the Republic through the Government's General Secretariat. The President of the National Assembly shall be informed that this has been done.
1. - Joint Committees shall meet when summoned by the oldest member of the Committee, on the premises either of the National Assembly or the Senate, alternately and case-by-case.
2. - They shall themselves determine the composition of their Bureau.
3. - In their work, they shall follow the normal rules that apply to Committees. If the Standing Orders of the two assemblies differ, that of the assembly where the Committee sits shall prevail.
4. - The conclusions of the work of Joint Committees shall be the subject of printed reports distributed in each of the assemblies, and shall be communicated officially to the Prime Minister through the good offices of their Presidents.
Examination of a text that has been referred to the Senate shall be adjourned if the Government announces that it intends to call a meeting of a Joint Committee on this matter.
1. - If a text drawn up by a Joint Committee is submitted to the Senate by the Government, the Senate shall examine it following the normal procedure subject to the provision of paragraph 3 of Article 3 of the Constitution and paragraph 12 of Article 42 of these Standing Orders.
2. - The Referrall Committee of a Government or member's bill shall be competent to give an opinion on amendments admissible under paragraph 1 of this Article, or to call for an ordinary public vote under Article 60.
The Senate shall issue authorisations referred to in Articles 35 and 36 of the Constitution25(*) under the procedure set out in the final paragraph of Article 49 of the Constitution.
* 22 Under Article 47 of the Constitution: «...no member shall be given more than one proxy.»
* 23 A new wording arising from the Resolution of 25 April 1973 and the Constitutional Council's Decision of 17 May 1973 as follows: «Considering that paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the aforementioned Resolution provides paragraph 1 of Article 64 of the Standing Orders a reading whereby proxy voting is not valid for secret ballots; that Article 1 of Ordinance n° 58-1066 of 7 November 1958 on the Organic Law exceptionally permitting Parliamentarians to delegate their right to vote in no way restricts to the authorisation conferred on Parliamentarians to delegate their right to vote in cases that the Ordinance lists; and that the provision whereby proxy voting is not valid for secret ballots therefore does not comply with Article 27 of the Constitution under which the aforementioned Ordinance was promulgated.»
* 24 In its Decision of 18 May 2004, the Constitutional Council considered that: «these provisions... shall be understood as also applying to motions based on the final paragraph of Article 73 of the Constitution».
* 25 These articles concern declaration of war and martial law.