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Law sets out how to sack president

A month of debates and a two-thirds majority vote would be needed if president committed 'serious breach of duty'

21 October 2014

THE FRENCH Senate has voted a law making it possible to depose the country's president - but only in the event of "serious breach of duty".

The bill received 324 yes votes last night, with just 18 Communist senators against the idea.

It originated from France's 2007 constitutional reforms and had already received the backing of MPs in the National Assembly in 2012.

Either of the two houses of parliament can hold a vote on whether to refer the president to the Haute Cour - a supreme court made up of senators and MPs - if he or she is considered to have committed a "breach of duties clearly incompatible with the exercise of their mandate".

If at least two-thirds of members in the house vote yes, the proposal is referred to the other house - the Senate or the National Assembly. A two-thirds vote is needed in this second house for the proceedings to begin.

The Haute Cour, chaired by the president of the National Assembly, is the only court in the country with the powers to question a serving president.

It would have one month to debate the proposal. Again, a two-thirds majority vote - by secret ballot - is needed from the Haute Cour for the president to be sacked.

The legislation will now be passed to France's conseil constitutionnel to check it is fair and respects the constitution before becoming law.

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