Constitutional Council in French Constitution
The French constitution of the 5th Republic has established a semi-judicial and semi-legislative institution in the form of Constitutional Council to look into semi-judicial and semi-legislative measures. The Articles from 54 to 63 of the constitution deals with the Constitutional Council. It was known as Constitutional Committee under the 4th Republic but under the 5th Republic its title was changed and its powers and functions have also been increased. It was setup to guarantee the successful working of new system to protect the national interest and to moralize the politics.
The Constitutional Council is composed of’ 9 members; of these members three are appointed by the President of the Republic three by the President of the National Assembly and the remaining three by the President of the Senate. In addition to the 9 -Members, former Presidents of the Republic arc ex-officio life members of the Council.
Members of the Council are appointed for 9 years. One third of its members are appointed every after 3 years members are not eligible for re-appointment.
There is a President of the Constitutional Council who is appointed by President of the Republic. He has a casting vote in case of a tie.
The Constitutional Council is a unique institution of the French political system. It ensures not only the fairness of election—a function which in other countries is performed by the Election Commission but also decides the election disputes and decides on the constitutionality of organic laws and Parliamentary orders which must be submitted to it. On the other hand, it settles the disputes between the executive and the legislature and keeps a balance among the three organs of the state or government.
In other countries a law is challenged for its validity after its, promulgation but in France validity is decided by the Constitutional Council before its promulgation. However, it has no power to set aside any law, and decree of legislature or unreactive. Lastly, the President of the Republic. The Premier and President of both the Houses of Parliament have the right to seek its opinion on the French Constitutional Law or treaty.