Saturday, June 18, 2011

18 June 2011: News of the day

I've been too busy to react to the news, but this one calls for comment...

France has a bicameral legislature, but the Senate has little power: it's more a power to delay and annoy than a power to legislate. Still, it's a cushy job in a beautiful palace (Luxembourg) with a splendid garden. The elections to the Senate take place this year. Because in French political thought the National Assembly has primacy as the VOICE OF THE PEOPLE, it would be out of the question for the Senate to be directly elected.

So who elects Senators? Other elected officials. The electoral college is made up of all MPs, members of the regional and departmental councils, and, most important, members of municipal councils. This gives a huge advantage to the countless tiny municipalities of rural France, ensuring that the Senate is solidly conservative.

Paris is a special case: it is both a city and a department, and there aren't enough elected officials to make up the electoral college for this Senatorial district. So yesterday the city council elected 2000 extra people (!) to sit on the electoral college. (Why not just give the votes of members of the city council more weight, I don't know...).

Then they do stuff with lists and all sorts of other crap. And they dare laugh at the US electoral college...

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