(Feb. 18, 2014) On January 22, 2014, the French Parliament adopted two laws placing limits on the ability of politicians to hold multiple concurrent political offices. (Projet de loi interdisant le cumul de fonctions exécutives locales avec le mandat de représentant au Parlement européen [Draft Law to Prohibit the Concurrent Holding of Local Executive Offices and the Office of Member of the European Parliament], Texte adopté No. 279 [Adopted Text No. 279] (Jan. 22, 2014), Assemblée Nationale website; Projet de loi organique interdisant le cumul de fonctions exécutives locales avec le mandat de député ou de sénateur [Draft Law to Prohibit the Concurrent Holding of Local Executive Offices and the Office of Member of Parliament], Texte adopté No. 278 [Adopted Text No. 278] (Jan. 22, 2014), Assemblée Nationale website.)
One draft law will prohibit anyone from being a member of the European Parliament and holding an executive local office, such as being a mayor or the president of a regional council (Conseil régional) at the same time. The other draft law will prohibit anyone from being a member of the French Parliament and holding an executive local office at the same time.
However, it will be possible to be a Member of the European Parliament or of the French Parliament and hold certain other political offices simultaneously. For example, while the law would prohibit someone from being both a senator and a mayor at the same time, it would not prohibit a senator from being on a town’s city council. (Anthime Verdier, Fin du cumul des mandats: ce que changera la loi [The End of Multiple Political Offices: What the Law Will Change], LE NOUVEL OBSERVATEUR (Jan. 21, 2014).)
These laws are meant to address a very prevalent phenomenon in French politics, in which 60% of the Members of the French Parliament simultaneously hold at least one other political office. (Cumul des mandats: la loi définitivement adoptée, y compris pour les sénateurs [Multiple Political Offices: the Law Definitively Adopted, Including for Senators], LE MONDE (Jan. 22, 2014).) The two draft items of legislation will officially become law upon publication in the Journal Officiel, the French official gazette. The draft law concerning members of the French Parliament, however, will first need to be validated by the Conseil constitutionel (Constitutional Council), as this is required for all new laws affecting theorganization of French governmental bodies. The other draft law will be considered by the Constitutional Council upon a request to do so by the President, the Prime Minister, the President of the National Assembly, the President of the Senate, or a group of 60 deputies or 60 senators. (Constitution de la République française [Constitution of the French Republic], art. 61.)
Unless these laws are invalidated by the Constitutional Council, the new rules will start to be applied in 2017 for members of the French Parliament and in 2019 for French members of the European Parliament; this will allow current members of both institutions to finish their terms before having to comply with the new rules. (Cumul des mandats: la loi définitivement adoptée, y compris pour les sénateurs, supra.)