French Senate swings to the Right as Front National win two seats

France — Analysis

For the last three years France's upper chamber of parliament, the Senate, has been under the political control of the Left, a rarity in the history of the Fifth Republic. On Sunday that brief interlude ended when, as expected, the Right regained control of the chamber during partial elections, with the centre-right faring especially well. And for the first time the far-right Front National gained entry to the Senate, picking up two seats. Meanwhile the ruling Socialist Party took comfort from the fact that a number of its candidates fared better than expected, though there were some symbolic defeats for key allies of President François Hollande. Mathieu Magnaudeix analyses the significance of the weekend's elections.

Far-right wins its first-ever seats in French Senate

France — Link

The Front National won two seats in Sunday's senatorial elections, when the socialists and their allies lost their majority in favour of the Right. 

France gives workers right to donate days off to colleagues with sick children

France — Link

The law is inspired by the case a French man whose colleagues donated 170 days paid leave while his son battled with cancer.

French arms billionaire Dassault in custody over vote-buying

France — Link

A week after his parliamentary immunity was lifted, French senator is being questioned by detectives as part of a long-running vote-buying inquiry.

French billionaire Senator Serge Dassault stripped of immunity in graft probe

France — Link

The 88 year-old right-wing Senator and industrialist allegedly paid out millions of euros to buy votes when he was mayor of a town near Paris.

French senators pass ‘anti-Amazon’ law to protect small retailers

France — Link

France's upper chamber has approved a bill that would ban online book retailers - such as Amazon - from offering free delivery.

How French Senate refused to lift immunity for Serge Dassault over election-buying allegations


The right-wing senator and billionaire Serge Dassault is at the centre of claims that he paid out millions of euros to buy votes when he was mayor of a town near Paris. Two independent judges investigating the affair want Dassault's parliamentary immunity as a senator to be lifted so they can probe deeper and if necessary detain the 88-year-old industrialist for questioning. But on Wednesday members of a Senate committee voted narrowly for their colleague to keep his immunity. This is despite the fact the two judges produced a dossier of the case against Dassault, including details of a Lebanese bank account allegedly used to channel 3 million euros to buy votes. Fabrice Arfi, Michaël Hajdenberg, Mathilde Mathieu and Pascale Pascariello report on the political and judicial fallout of an extraordinary vote by a Senate committee with a left-wing majority.

French wine tax plans will ‘cork the industry’

France — Link

Furious wine makers launch campaign against tax hike and tighter advertising rules they claim would be 'very bad for the image of France'.

French billionaire Serge Dassault secretly recorded saying he paid money to 'buy' election win

France — Investigation

The leading French industrialist and media owner Serge Dassault has been secretly recorded on video admitting that he paid out a huge sum of money to help 'buy' a local election in a town where he was once mayor. Billionaire Dassault, one of the wealthiest men in France and a French senator, makes the assertion in a recording obtained by Mediapart and parts of which are published here. 'I gave the money,' he is heard saying to two men who asked him about the cash – 1.7 million euros in all - while they clandestinely recorded him. Mediapart has also established that three months after the video was made the two men concerned were shot and wounded, one of them seriously. Contacted by Mediapart about the tape Serge Dassault said he had no comment. Fabrice Arfi, Michaël Hajdenberg and Pascale Pascariello report.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn makes French parliament comeback

France — Link

Former IMF boss seized controversial first appearance in parliament since his disgrace over string of sex scandals to mock President Hollande.

French Senate backs same-sex marriage bill

France — Link

The bill, which has sparked protests across the country, still faces a second reading in the National Assembly and a final reading in the upper house.

French Senate adopts key article of gay marriage bill

France — Link

Senate paves way for new law after voting to redefine marriage as a union between “two individuals of different sex or of the same sex”.

French Senate starts gay marriage debate amid protests

France — Link

France's upper chamber of parliament has begun examining bill which gives homosexual couples the right to marry and adopt children.

French senators reveal their outside interests online – but will it make a difference?


Members of the French Senate have recently begun publishing their outside business affairs on a new online register of members' interests. The aim is to prevent conflicts of interest between a senator’s public and private lives. The first register has thrown up a fascinating array of outside activities. But senators are under no obligation to make the declarations and there is no provision for them to publish details of how much they earn from other sources. So will self-regulation work? Mathilde Mathieu reports.

Nationality, citizenship and a foreigner's right to vote in France

France — Report

Early December, the Left majority in the French Senate passed a bill to give non-EU nationals the right to vote and to stand as candidates for the position of councilor in local, municipal elections. The bill stands no chance of becoming law before the 2012 presidential and legislative elections, as it would require adoption by the current Right-majority in parliament's lower house, and the approval of President Nicolas Sarkozy. But a Socialist Party victory in next year's polls could see the bill finally introduced as law, ending several decades of campaigning, notably by representatives of France's large North African immigrant community. Carine Fouteau met with Hocine Taleb, a 32 year-old Algerian who runs a youth association in a Paris suburb, who explains his anger and frustration at being excluded from local decision-making.