Title V - On relations between parliament and the government
Statutes shall determine the rules concerning :
- civic rights and the fundamental guarantees granted to citizens for the exercise of their civil liberties; freedom, pluralism and the independence of the media; the obligations imposed for the purposes of national defence upon the person and property of citizens.
- nationality, the status and capacity of persons, matrimonial property systems, inheritance and gifts
- the determination of serious crimes and other major offences and the penalties they carry; criminal procedure; amnesty; the setting up of new categories of courts and the status of members of the Judiciary.
- the base, rates and methods of collection of all types of taxes; the issuing of currency.
Statutes shall also determine the rules governing :
- the system for electing members of the Houses of Parliament, local assemblies and the representative bodies for French nationals living abroad, as well as the conditions for holding elective offices and positions for the members of the deliberative assemblies of the territorial communities
- the setting up of categories of public legal entities
- the fundamental guarantees granted to civil servants and members of the Armed Forces
- nationalisation of companies and the transfer of ownership of companies from the public to the private sector.
Statutes shall also lay down the basic principles of :
- the general organisation of national defence
- the self-government of territorial communities, their powers and revenue
- the preservation of the environment
- systems of ownership, property rights and civil and commercial obligations.
- Employment law, Trade Union law and Social Security.
Finance Acts shall determine the revenue and expenditure of the State in the conditions and with the reservations provided for by an Institutional Act.
Social Security Financing Acts shall lay down the general conditions for the financial equilibrium thereof, and taking into account forecasted revenue, shall determine expenditure targets in the conditions and with the reservations provided for by an Institutional Act.
Programming Acts shall determine the objectives of the action of the State.
The multiannual guidelines for public finances shall be established by Programming Acts. They shall be part of the objective of balanced accounts for public administrations.
The provisions of this article may be further specified and completed by an Institutional Act.
The Houses of Parliament may adopt resolutions according to the conditions determined by the Institutional Act.
Any draft resolution, whose adoption or rejection would be considered by the Government as an issue of confidence, or which contained an injunction to the Government, shall be inadmissible and may not be included on the agenda.
A declaration of war shall be authorized by Parliament.
The Government shall inform Parliament of its decision to have the armed forces intervene abroad, at the latest three days after the beginning of said intervention. It shall detail the objectives of the said intervention. This information may give rise to a debate, which shall not be followed by a vote.
Where the said intervention shall exceed four months, the Government shall submit the extension to Parliament for authorization. It may ask the National Assembly to make the final decision.
If Parliament is not sitting at the end of the four-month period, it shall express its decision at the opening of the following session.
A state of siege shall be decreed in the Council of Ministers.
The extension thereof after a period of twelve days may be authorized solely by Parliament.
Matters other than those coming under the scope of statute law shall be matters for regulation.
Provisions of statutory origin enacted in such matters may be amended by decree issued after consultation with the Conseil d'État. Any such provisions passed after the coming into force of the Constitution shall be amended by decree only if the Constitutional Council has found that they are matters for regulation as defined in the foregoing paragraph.
Statutes and regulations may contain provisions enacted on an experimental basis for limited purposes and duration.
In order to implement its programme, the Government may ask Parliament for authorization, for a limited period, to take measures by Ordinance that are normally the preserve of statute law.
Ordinances shall be issued in the Council of Ministers, after consultation with the Conseil d'État. They shall come into force upon publication, but shall lapse in the event of failure to table before Parliament the Bill to ratify them by the date set by the Enabling Act. They may only be ratified in explicit terms.
At the end of the period referred to in the first paragraph hereinabove Ordinances may be amended solely by an Act of Parliament in those areas governed by statute law.
Both the Prime Minister and Members of Parliament shall have the right to initiate legislation.
Government Bills shall be discussed in the Council of Ministers after consultation with the Conseil d'État and shall be tabled in one or other of the two Houses. Finance Bills and Social Security Financing Bills shall be tabled first before the National Assembly. Without prejudice to the first paragraph of article 44, Bills primarily dealing with the organisation of territorial communities shall be tabled first in the Senate.
The presentation of Government Bills tabled before the National Assembly or the Senate, shall follow the conditions determined by an Institutional Act.
Government Bills may not be included on the agenda if the Conference of Presidents of the first House to which the bill has been referred, declares that the rules determined by the Institutional Act have been ignored. In the case of disagreement between the Conference of Presidents and the Government, the President of the relevant House or the Prime Minister may refer the matter to the Constitutional Council, which shall rule within a period of eight days.
Within the conditions provided for by statute, the President of either House may submit a Private Members' Bill tabled by a member of the said House, before it is considered in committee, to the Conseil d'État for its opinion, unless the member who tabled it disagrees.
Private Members' Bills and amendments introduced by Members of Parliament shall not be admissible where their enactment would result in either a diminution of public revenue or the creation or increase of any public expenditure.
If, during the legislative process, it appears that a Private Member's Bill or amendment is not a matter for statute or is contrary to a delegation granted under article 38, the Government or the President of the House concerned, may argue that it is inadmissible.
In the event of disagreement between the Government and the President of the House concerned, the Constitutional Council, at the request of one or the other, shall give its ruling within eight days.
The discussion of Government and Private Members' Bills shall, in plenary sitting, concern the text passed by the committee to which the Bill has been referred, in accordance with article 43, or failing that, the text which has been referred to the House.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the plenary discussion of Constitutional Revision Bills, Finance Bills and Social Security Financing Bills, shall concern, during the first reading before the House to which the Bill has been referred in the first instance, the text presented by the Government, and during the subsequent readings, the text transmitted by the other House.
The plenary discussion at first reading of a Government or Private Members' Bill may only occur before the first House to which it is referred, at the end of a period of six weeks after it has been tabled. It may only occur, before the second House to which it is referred, at the end of a period of four weeks, from the date of transmission.
The previous paragraph shall not apply if the accelerated procedure has been implemented according to the conditions provided for in article 45. It shall not apply either to Finance Bills, Social Security Financing Bills, or to bills concerning a state of emergency.
Government and Private Members' Bills shall be referred to one of the standing committees, the number of which shall not exceed eight in each House.
At the request of the Government or of the House before which such a Bill has been tabled, Government and Private Members' Bills shall be referred for consideration to a committee specially set up for this purpose.
Members of Parliament and the Government shall have the right of amendment. This right may be used in plenary sitting or in committee under the conditions set down by the Rules of Procedure of the Houses, according to the framework determined by an Institutional Act.
Once debate has begun, the Government may object to the consideration of any amendment which has not previously been referred to committee.
If the Government so requests, the House before which the Bill is tabled shall proceed to a single vote on all or part of the text under debate, on the sole basis of the amendments proposed or accepted by the Government.
Every Government or Private Member's Bill shall be considered successively in the two Houses of Parliament with a view to the passing of an identical text. Without prejudice to the application of articles 40 and 41, all amendments which have a link, even an indirect one, with the text that was tabled or transmitted, shall be admissible on first reading.
If, as a result of a failure to agree by the two Houses, it has proved impossible to pass a Government or Private Member's Bill after two readings by each House or, if the Government has decided to apply the accelerated procedure without the two Conferences of Presidents being jointly opposed, after a single reading of such Bill by each House, the Prime Minister, or in the case of a Private Members' Bill, the Presidents of the two Houses acting jointly, may convene a joint committee, composed of an equal number of members from each House, to propose a text on the provisions still under debate.
The text drafted by the joint committee may be submitted by the Government to both Houses for approval. No amendment shall be admissible without the consent of the Government.
If the joint committee fails to agree on a common text, or if the text is not passed as provided in the foregoing paragraph, the Government may, after a further reading by the National Assembly and by the Senate, ask the National Assembly to reach a final decision. In such an event, the National Assembly may reconsider either the text drafted by the joint committee, or the last text passed by itself, as modified, as the case may be, by any amendment(s) passed by the Senate.
Acts of Parliament which are defined by the Constitution as being Institutional Acts shall be enacted and amended as provided for hereinafter.
The Government or Private Member's Bill may only be submitted, on first reading, to the consideration and vote of the Houses after the expiry of the periods set down in the third paragraph of article 42. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if the accelerated procedure has been applied according to the conditions provided for in article 45, the Government or Private Member's Bill may not be submitted for consideration by the first House to which it is referred before the expiry of a fifteen-day period after it has been tabled.
The procedure set out in article 45 shall apply. Nevertheless, failing agreement between the two Houses, the text may be passed by the National Assembly on a final reading only by an absolute majority of the Members thereof.
Institutional Acts relating to the Senate must be passed in identical terms by the two Houses.
Institutional Acts shall not be promulgated until the Constitutional Council has declared their conformity with the Constitution.
Parliament shall pass Finance Bills in the manner provided for by an Institutional Act.
Should the National Assembly fail to reach a decision on first reading within forty days following the tabling of a Bill, the Government shall refer the Bill to the Senate, which shall make its decision known within fifteen days. The procedure set out in article 45 shall then apply.
Should Parliament fail to reach a decision within seventy days, the provisions of the Bill may be brought into force by Ordinance.
Should the Finance Bill setting out revenue and expenditure for a financial year not be tabled in time for promulgation before the beginning of that year, the Government shall as a matter of urgency ask Parliament for authorization to collect taxes and shall make available by decree the funds needed to meet commitments already voted for.
The time limits set by this article shall be suspended when Parliament is not in session.
Parliament shall pass Social Security Financing Bills in the manner provided by an Institutional Act.
Should the National Assembly fail to reach a decision on first reading within twenty days of the tabling of a Bill, the Government shall refer the Bill to the Senate, which shall make its decision known within fifteen days. The procedure set out in article 45 shall then apply.
Should Parliament fail to reach a decision within fifty days, the provisions of the Bill may be implemented by Ordinance.
The time limits set by this article shall be suspended when Parliament is not in session and, as regards each House, during the weeks when it has decided not to sit in accordance with the second paragraph of article 28.
The Cour des Comptes shall assist Parliament in monitoring Government action. It shall assist Parliament and the Government in monitoring the implementation of Finance Acts and Social Security Financing Acts, as well in assessing public policies. By means of its public reports, it shall contribute to informing citizens.
The accounts of public administrations shall be lawful and faithful. They shall provide a true and fair view of the result of the management, assets and financial situation of the said public administrations.
Without prejudice to the application of the last three paragraphs of article 28, the agenda shall be determined by each House.
During two weeks of sittings out of four, priority shall be given, in the order determined by the Government, to the consideration of texts and to debates which it requests to be included on the agenda.
In addition, the consideration of Finance Bills, Social Security Financing Bills and, subject to the provisions of the following paragraph, texts transmitted by the other House at least six weeks previously, as well as bills concerning a state of emergency and requests for authorization referred to in article 35, shall, upon Government request, be included on the agenda with priority.
During one week of sittings out of four, priority shall be given, in the order determined by each House, to the monitoring of Government action and to the assessment of public policies.
One day of sitting per month shall be given to an agenda determined by each House upon the initiative of the opposition groups in the relevant House, as well as upon that of the minority groups.
During at least one sitting per week, including during the extraordinary sittings provided for in article 29, priority shall be given to questions from Members of Parliament and to answers from the Government.
The Prime Minister, after deliberation by the Council of Ministers, may make the Government's programme or possibly a general policy statement an issue of a vote of confidence before the National Assembly.
The National Assembly may call the Government to account by passing a resolution of no-confidence. Such a resolution shall not be admissible unless it is signed by at least one tenth of the members of the National Assembly. Voting may not take place within forty-eight hours after the resolution has been tabled. Solely votes cast in favour of the no-confidence resolution shall be counted and the latter shall not be passed unless it secures a majority of the Members of the House. Except as provided for in the following paragraph, no Member shall sign more than three resolutions of no-confidence during a single ordinary session and no more than one during a single extraordinary session.
The Prime Minister may, after deliberation by the Council of Ministers, make the passing of a Finance Bill or Social Security Financing Bill an issue of a vote of confidence before the National Assembly. In that event, the Bill shall be considered passed unless a resolution of no-confidence, tabled within the subsequent twenty-four hours, is carried as provided for in the foregoing paragraph. In addition, the Prime Minister may use the said procedure for one other Government or Private Members' Bill per session.
The Prime Minister may ask the Senate to approve a statement of general policy.
When the National Assembly passes a resolution of no-confidence, or when it fails to endorse the Government programme or general policy statement, the Prime Minister shall tender the resignation of the Government to the President of the Republic.
The Government may, before either House, upon its own initiative or upon the request of a political group, as set down in article 51-1, make a declaration on a given subject, which leads to a debate and, if it so desires, gives rise to a vote, without making it an issue of confidence.
The closing of ordinary or extraordinary sessions shall be automatically postponed in order to permit the application of article 49, if the case arises. Additional sittings shall be held automatically for the same purpose.
The Rules of Procedure of each House shall determine the rights of the parliamentary groups set up within it. They shall recognize that opposition groups in the House concerned, as well as minority groups, have specific rights.
In order to implement the monitoring and assessment missions laid down in the first paragraph of article 24, committees of inquiry may be set up within each House to gather information, according to the conditions provided for by statute.
Statutes shall determine their rules of organization and operation. The conditions for their establishment shall be determined by the Rules of Procedure of each House.