Ministry of Justice

Confidence in public action

To restore trust in the way French democracy works, Parliament has adopted two pieces of legislation underpinned by provisions that are simple yet demanding.
 

WHAT DOES THIS INVOLVE?


Adopted less than three months after the Government's nomination, this legislation will help to restore citizens' trust in their elected representatives and in the democratic life of our country, not least by increasing transparency so as to call time on practices that the French will not put up with any longer.
 
These measures aim at:

Restoring trust

  • Prohibiting a member of Government, an MP or an official with local executive duties from hiring a member of his or her family.
  • Requiring all election candidates to have a clean “Bulletin no.2” police certificate in terms of crimes or breaches of integrity which would ban them from standing for public office.
  • Requiring MPs to justify a tax situation that is in order at the start of their term in office.
  • Allowing the President of the Republic to request tax examinations regarding any candidates being considered for a Government post.
  • Prohibiting MPs from carrying out lobbying activities as interest representatives.
  • Prohibiting lobbies from paying parliamentary staff, those of the President of the Republic or members of ministerial cabinets.  

Guaranteeing transparency

  • Requiring all presidential election candidates to provide a declaration of interests and activities in addition to the current declaration of assets.
  • Monitoring of any changes in the President of the Republic's assets by the High Authority for Transparency in Public Life (HATVP) between the start and end of his or her term.
  • Scrapping the representative allowance to cover expenses (IRFM); a list of eligible expenses has been defined and reimbursements will now be paid out upon presentation of supporting documents.
  • Scrapping of the “parliamentary reserve”, a package of State grants for MPs to award in their constituency as they see fit. 

Advancing political pluralism

  • Heightened scrutiny of political parties' accounts via their detailed publication in the Official Journal of the French Republic (Journal Officiel).
  • Prohibiting legal entities (other than European banks and parties) from lending money to parties and heightened scrutiny of loans granted by natural persons.
  • Creating the appointment of the “credit mediator” for candidates and political parties to facilitate dialogue between banks, candidates and parties.
  • Enabling the Government to create, by Ordinance, a "democracy bank", again with a view to helping parties and candidates to access funding. 
 

WHY?


Our social contract and the confidence of citizens in their elected representatives have been undermined, cracked and broken by practices which cause a deep sense of exasperation among French people. It is no longer a matter of declaring an opinion on certain behaviours, or of taking half-measures as an instant response.
 
The challenge today is to have a global founding text to support confidence in democratic life. Transparency for citizens, the probity of elected representatives and their exemplary behaviour are fundamental democratic requirements which strengthen the relationship that exists between citizens and their representatives.

The legislation adopted by Parliament sounds the death knell on certain practices, giving a much-needed "confidence boost" to relations between citizens and their representatives.

 

ACTION TAKEN



8 September 2017: validation by the Constitutional Council of the bills for cleaning up politics, with the exception of a few provisions. The most significant include:
  • scrapping the “ministerial reserve”, a package of grants that the Ministry of the Interior awards for diverse projects of local interest;
  • the right to communicate certain documents or pieces of information on MPs' tax situations;
  • compulsory additional ban on standing for public office.
9 August 2017: final adoption by Parliament of the organic bill, which particularly provides for the parliamentary reserve to be scrapped.

3 August 2017: final adoption of the ordinary bill by Parliament, which notably prohibits the employment of family members of collaborators and introduces a new system for MPs' expenses.

14 June 2017:
  • submission of organic and ordinary bills at the Council of Ministers meeting
  • publication of the decree concerning staff of the President of the Republic and Government members
24 May 2017: exchanges within the Council of Ministers on the bill to strengthen confidence in public life

22 May 2017: start of consultations on the reform project