STANDING ORDERS OF THE SENATE
Sittings Department and Library of the SenateJanuary 2007
1. - Except when the agenda is being drawn up, an absolute majority of members of the Senate must be present within the confines of the Palais du Luxembourg for any vote to be deemed valid, except when it concerns fixing the agenda.
2. - A vote shall be valid, irrespective of the number taking part, if, before it takes place, the Bureau has not been asked to record the number present or, after being asked to do so or after drawing up such a record, it has announced that the Senate is quorate for voting.
2a. - The Bureau may only be asked to draw up a register of the number present following a written request from thirty Senators whose presence must be confirmed by a roll call20(*).
3. - If a vote cannot be taken because of the absence of a quorum, it shall be put back on the agenda for the same day of sitting and may not take place for at least an hour. The vote shall then be valid irrespective of the number taking part.
1. - Votes in the Senate must be passed by an absolute majority of votes cast.
2. - However, if the Senate votes on personal appointments in a plenary sitting, and if an absolute majority of votes cast has not been achieved in the first or the second ballot, a relative majority shall suffice on the third ballot. In the event of a tied vote, the oldest shall be appointed.
3. - The provisions set out in paragraph 2 of this Article shall apply to personal appointments made on Committees.
The Senate shall vote by a show of hands, by a sitting or standing vote, in an ordinary public ballot or in a public ballot at the rostrum.
1. - Voting by a show of hands shall be mandatory on all questions except personal appointments and for matters where a public ballot is compulsory.
2. - It shall be recorded by the Secretaries and announced by the President.
3. - If the Secretaries believe there is doubt, or if they disagree, the exercise shall be repeated by a sitting or standing vote. If the doubt or disagreement continues, an ordinary public ballot shall be taken.
No one may speak between ballots.
1. - Ordinary public ballots shall take place in accordance with the following rules:
2. - The President shall announce that the vote has commenced when the Secretaries are ready to gather up the ballot papers.
3. - Senators voting `for' shall hand a white ballot paper to the Secretary standing at the entrance to the right-hand corridor of the Chamber.
4. - Senators voting `against' shall hand a blue ballot paper to the Secretary standing at the entrance to the left-hand corridor of the Chamber.
5. - Senators who abstain shall hand a red ballot paper to the Secretary standing in the centre of the Chamber.
6. - In all three cases, the Secretaries shall place the ballot papers in the urn next to them.
7. - The President shall announce that the voting exercise has been completed when he/she sees that all the Senators who indicated that they would take part have done so.
1. - In the event of a public ballot at the tribune, all Senators shall be called by name by the ushers. Those whose names begin with a letter that has been previously drawn by lots by the President and published shall be invited to procede first.
2. - This initial roll call shall be followed by another call of Senators who have not responded to their names being called.
3. - Senators shall hand their ballot papers to the Secretary standing by the tribune; the Secretary shall place the paper in one of the three urns next to him/her.
4. - Secretaries shall then count the names of those voting.
Senators who have been delegated to vote by one of their colleagues must hand the Secretary standing next to the urn a receipt of the notification whereby the President of the Senate shall notify the Bureau's agreement on the reasons for the impediment.
1. - After consulting the Secretaries, it shall be the President's responsibility to decide whether there are grounds for counting the ballot papers.
2. - Senators who have handed in ballot papers of different colours shall be deemed not to have taken part in the vote.
Ordinary public ballots are mandatory for the whole of:
1. the first part of the year's Finance Bill;
2. Finance Bills, subject to the provisions of paragraph 3 of Article 60a;
3. Organic Laws ;
4. Government and member's bills revising the Constitution;
5. proposals referred to in Article 11 of the Constitution.
If an ordinary public ballot is not mandatory, or if it arises from the provisions of Article 54, it may only be requested by the Government, the President, one or more Chairmen of Groups, the Referrall Committee, or thirty Senators whose presence must be confirmed by a roll call.
1. - A public ballot at the rostrum shall take place if the Chairmen's Conference decides that this way of voting will be applicable to a vote on the whole of a Government or member's bill.
2. - The decision of the Chairmen's Conference must be announced in a public sitting and communicated to each Senator. It must also appear on the agenda.
3. - Public ballot at the rostrum shall also be mandatory for votes on the first reading of the whole of the year's Finance Bill and on approval of a Statement of General Policy requested by the Government under the final paragraph of Article 49 of the Constitution.
1. - Subject to the provisions of Article 3 dealing with the appointment of Secretaries, appointments in plenary assembly and on Committees shall take place in secret ballot.
2. - In the case of appointments made in plenary assembly, the Senate shall decide that the vote should take place as follows:
3. - After consulting the Senate, the President shall announce the time at which the vote will commence, and how long it will last;
4. - An urn shall be placed in one of the rooms adjacent to the Chamber under the supervision of one of the Secretaries assisted by two Tellers;
5. - Each Senator shall place his/her ballot paper in the urn during the sitting, which shall not be adjourned for the vote. The Tellers shall place a mark next to the name of those voting;
6. - The Secretaries shall count the votes, and the President shall announce the result.
1. - Bills subject to a vote shall only be declared adopted if they have obtained an absolute majority of votes cast. In the event of a tied vote, the bill that has been put to the vote shall not be adopted.
2. - The result of the Senate's deliberations shall be announced by the President as follows: `The Senate has adopted the bill' (Le Sénat a adopté) or `The Senate has not adopted the bill' (Le Sénat n'a pas adopté).
* 20 A new paragraph arising from the Resolution of 20 May 1986, and declared compliant with the Constitution by the Constitutional Council in its Decision of 3 June 1986: «Considering that this new provision, which does not seek to abolish the requirement for a quorum but only relates to the conditions under which verification of a quorum may be requested, is not contrary to any provision of the Constitution; that it furthermore does not prevent the President, by virtue of the powers that he/she has under paragraph 2 of Article 33 of the Standing Orders, from conducting such a verification, if appropriate.»
* 21 A new wording arising from the Resolution of 21 June 1972, and declared compliant with the Constitution by the Constitutional Council (Decision of 28 June 1972), subject to the following comments: «Considering that the provisions of Article 55, in the wording given to them under the terms of the afore-mentioned Resolution of 21 June 1972, must also be deemed to be compliant with the Constitution, subject however to them not impeding the application of the provisions of paragraph 1 of Article 31 of the Constitution, whereby members of the Government shall be heard by the assemblies when they ask to do so.»