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France

French parliament votes to limit office-holding for MPs, mayors

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault congratulated MPs for passing the bill
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault congratulated MPs for passing the bill Reuters/Philippe Wojazer
3 min

French MPs and senators will soon have to choose between being lawmakers and their other positions after voting through a new law which will ban them from holding more than one elected office at the same time. The right-wing opposition voted against the measure.

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The bill must now be ratified by the Constitutional Council before becoming law

It will stop lawmakers holding office in local government, a very widespread practice in France.

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At present 60 per cent of French MPs and senators are mayors or hold another local office.

The law passed with a large majority in the National Assembly but it was hard won after seven months of debate.

Parliament passed the law over the objections of the Senate, which rejected it last week.

The opposition UMP voted against it, apart from five who voted in favour.

They argued that it is inconsistent, as it only applies to MPs and senators.

"Why don’t we say one man, one role?" asked Yves Jego, an MP who is also a mayor. "That would be logical. You can be the vice-president of a very large region and mayor of a very large city. But if you are an MP or senator you can no longer be mayor. For me, this is demagoguery."

The UMP has promised that it will scrap the law if it wins a parliamentary majority in 2017.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who came to parliament to congratulate the lawmakers, said that won’t happen

"Lawmakers who passed this reform with a large majority can be very proud of their work," he said. "The opposition made another choice. They say they’ll revise this law. But we will not go back on it. This was a campaign promise. Today it’s the law."

Government spokesperson and Women's Rights Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem claimed the law will be a "new step towards [gender] parity", while Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoë, who resigned his senator's seat to take up tehe running of the capital city, said it will "help restore the confidence of our fellow citizens" in politicians.

The law would come into effect in 2017, in 2019 for Members of the European Parliament.

Several MPs, from the left and the right, who currently hold multiple offices, have already announced they will not run for reelection in March’s local elections.

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