Thursday, April 17, 2008

Reform of the Senate

The PS wants to reform the Senate. The Senate is supposed to represent "local collectivities." The PS controls 20 of 22 regions, 58 of 102 départements, and 57 percent of cities and towns with population greater than 10,000 (in which reside 60 percent of the population), yet it is still in the minority in the Senate because the mode of election favors towns with populations below 1,500, where the Right remains in the majority. "Here is proof that there is a flaw in our system that every democrat must have at heart to remedy," says Robert Badinter. Unfortunately, the mode of election is determined by statute rather than by the constitution and is therefore impossible to change as long as the Right has a lock on the upper chamber. Hence the strategy of the PS is to make reform of the Senate a precondition for discussions with the majority on the constitutional reforms it wants. Since those consitutional reforms require a 3/5 majority, the PS has more leverage.

Here we get down to political trench warfare. Which constitutional reforms does the Right want so badly that it would sacrifice the Senate to get them? Would Sarkozy trade the upper house for the right to deliver a "state of the Republic" address to Parliament once a year? Asked and answered.

1 comment:

Fr. said...

“Which constitutional reforms does the Right want so badly that it would sacrifice the Senate to get them?”

None. The Senate is vital to the government when it needs to clear amendments from the Assembly.