MPs vote for ban on cumul

The practice of being both an MP or senator and a mayor or other local authority leader will be stopped

23 January 2014

FRENCH MPs and senators will no longer be allowed to be mayors or regional or departmental council presidents after a law against le cumul des mandats was voted through.

Putting an end to one of the most notorious exceptions françaises, the National Assembly voted 313 to 225 in favour of the ban, well above the absolute majority needed to pass it despite Senate opposition.

This follows months of to-ing and fro-ing between the Assembly and the Senate – with senators being opposed especially due to the constitutional link between the senate and local authorities, representing them is part of the senator’s job.

Opponents, however, say it is impossible to do more than one top job properly and that banning accumulation will be good for democracy, giving fresh faces the chance to fill the roles.

Socialist MP Laurence Dumont called it “a little democratic revolution” which “will allow for hundreds of new elected politicians”.

National politicians will still be able to be ordinary local councillors but the ban includes being a mayor or deputy mayor or president or deputy president of regional and departmental councils or intercommunal bodies.

It is expected to affect more than half of MPs and senators and is especially unpopular on the right.

Only five UMP party MPs voted for the law, with many of them taking the view that the jobs of mayor and MP are complementary, giving them a greater voice for their territories and understanding of issues by having a foot in both national and local camps.

However le cumul is widely viewed as unfair, especially as each job comes with a generous pay packet.

“This vote honours the National Assembly. Those who voted for it are the embodiment of progress,” said Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.

The new rules will apply from 2017.

Photo: David Monniaux

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