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.
A reform intended to bolster the finances of France's indebted pension system has been passed by 270 votes in favour and 249 against.
François Fillon causes party row by calling for end to treating the far-right National Front as a political pariah, but analysts see it as merely a tactic.
President Francois Hollande expressed readiness to push ahead with plans to strike Syria despite British parliament's rejection of military action
Alsatians vote this Sunday on how they govern themselves; supporters hope for more efficient structures, opponents warn of 'the German model'.
The opposition UMP party, which has been locked in an acrimonious leadership struggle, has agreed to hold a new vote before October 2013.
For the first time, French citizens who live abroad will be able to vote for an MP to represent them in the Assemblée Nationale.
French citizens living in Britain put the current president a whisker ahead of François Hollande, who came top in France itself.