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Senators for French people abroad are among 176 elected on Sunday

Around half of seats in the Senate are being renewed

Senate elections are held every three years through an electoral college of local government (Pictured: the French senate on February 1st, 2023) Pic: Victor Velter / Shutterstock

Half of the French Senate is being renewed this Sunday (September 24) as well as six seats for senators serving French citizens who are living outside of France. 

A total of 170 seats are open for election in 45 departments and six overseas territories with the six additional seats for senators abroad elected by a dedicated French foreign council.

We explain the role of senators in this article:

French senators: their role and how this weekend’s elections will work 

Sunday’s elections are divided into two categories: smaller departments, with one or two senators, which use a majority vote over two ballots, and larger departments, with three or more senators, which use a proportional vote instead in one ballot.

The elections are decided via indirect representation with senators chosen by an electoral college of members of local government, 90% of which are elected municipal councillors.

Members of the college are required to vote or they risk a fine if absent without justification.

French citizens abroad are represented by the ‘Conseil Consulaire’, a body of 443 councillors. They are elected for six years via a direct vote in 130 foreign constituencies.

These councillors elect the 12 senators for French citizens abroad, six of which are being renewed this Sunday.

The councillors represent local constituencies, which is why foreign senators do not run based on precise locations. Instead, they are seen as representing one united constituency: French citizens abroad.

See below a map of which constituencies are choosing their senators this Sunday. For a high resolution version, follow this link.


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