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STANDING ORDERS OF THE SENATE

 

Sittings Department and Library of the Senate

January 2007
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CHAPTER XV - PETITIONS

Article 87

1. - Petitions must be addressed to the President of the Senate. They may also be tabled by a Senator who notifies the tabling of the petition, and signs this notification.

2. - A petition brought to the Senate or transmitted there by a gathering on the public highway may not be accepted by the President or tabled with the Bureau.

3. - All petitions must contain the petitioner's home address and be signed by him/her.

Article 88

1. - Petitions shall be placed on a general list in the order in which they arrive.

2. - The President shall send them on to the Committee for Constitutional Acts Laws, Legislation, Universal Suffrage, Standing Orders and General Administration.

3. - The Committee shall, depending on the circumstances, decide whether to send them to the Minister or another Senate Committee, to ask the President of the Senate to forward them to the Mediator of the Republic, or simply to file them.26(*)

4. - Petitions on which the Committee for Constitutional Acts Laws, Legislation, Universal Suffrage, Standing Orders and General Administration has not given a ruling shall lapse automatically at the beginning of the ordinary session following the one in which they were tabled. Petitions tabled between ordinary sessions shall, for the purposes of calculating deadlines for lapsing, be put back to the first day of the ordinary session after the day on which they were tabled.

5. - The petitioner shall be informed of the order in which the petition has been placed and, if appropriate, of the decision taken on it.

Article 89

1. - An order paper containing summaries of petitions and decisions shall be periodically distributed to members of the Senate.

2. - Any Senator may request that the report into a petition be considered in a public sitting in the fortnight that follows the report's publication.

3. - After this deadline has passed, the Committee's decisions shall be deemed definitive, and they shall be published in the Journal officiel.

4. - The responses of Ministers to petitions addressed to them under paragraph 3 of Article 88 together with those of the Mediator shall be included in the folder of petitions and published in the Journal officiel.

Article 89a

1. - If the Committee decides to submit a petition to the Senate under paragraph 3 of Article 88, or if the Chairmen's Conference ratifies a request presented under paragraph 2 of Article 89, the Committee shall draw up a report containing the entire text of the petition and setting out the reasons for the conclusions reached on the matter. The report shall be printed and circulated.

2. - The Committee's discussion of the report shall be placed on the agenda under the provisions of Article 29.

3. - The debate shall open with the Rapporteur's presentation followed by contributions from listed speakers.

4. - During the debate, the Senate may receive from the representative of a Committee or from any Senator a request for the petition to be remitted to the competent Standing Committee. At the end of the debate, the petition shall be put to the vote by the President after discussion during which the opportunity to speak will only be offered to the author of the initiative or his/her representative, representatives of the Committees concerned, a speaker with a contrary view and, if appropriate, the Government. Explanations of votes shall be allowed for a period not exceeding five minutes. 27(*)

5. - If no request for remittance is presented, the President shall declare the debate closed after the last speaker has been heard.

6. - The Committee to which a petition has been remitted under paragraph 4 above may, at the end of the examination, send it to a Minister, file it, or ask the President of the Senate to forward it to the Mediator.

* 26 Article 6 of Law n° 73-6 of 3 January 1973 installing a Mediator of the Republic provides, in the final paragraph, that: «[at] the request of one of the six Committees in his assembly, the President of the Senate or the President of the National Assembly may also send the Mediator of the Republic any petition that his assembly has had referred to it».

* 27 A new wording arising from the Resolution of 29 April 1976 and the Constitutional Council's Decision of 2 June 1976 as follows: «Considering that Article 89a of the Senate Standing Orders in the wording given in the aforementioned Resolution is not contrary to any provision of the Constitution, except for the phrase `this request may be reasoned' in paragraph 4 of the Article;

«Considering that nothing in this text impedes a reasoned request to remit a petition to a Standing Committee (a request on which the Senate would be called upon to give a ruling) tends to direct or monitor Government action in conditions not provided for by the Constitution or seeks to establish a way of exercising Parliamentarians' right to initiate legislation, in conditions other than that of exercising this right shall be defined and restricted in respect of the provisions of Articles 34, 40 and 41 of the Constitution.»

The words «this request may be reasoned», which appeared after the first sentence in paragraph 4, have accordingly been declared non-compliant with the Constitution by the Constitutional Council.

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