French President Macron mentions some “level of proportionality”

President Emmanuel Macron of France has launched a “Great Debate” in response to weeks of protests. Euronews prints a translation of the president’s open letter setting out questions to be debated.

The main themes are taxation and public spending, the organization of the state and public services, ecological transformation, and democracy and citizenship. Of particular interest to F&V is the president’s asking what might be the “right level” of proportional representation in elections to the National Assembly. This question has been debated before, and was supposed to be part of Macon’s platform, although the answer to the question of the “right” level seemed to be not much. Now, at least, it is open to debate, although it is not clear how any opinions expressed during this Great Debate will find their way onto the government agenda.

What follows is an excerpt related to issues of democratic reform.

Should absentions be recognised? Should we make voting compulsory?

What is the right level of proportional representation in parliamentary elections for a fairer say to be given to all political perspectives?

Should we, and how, limit the number of parliamentarians or other elected officials?

What role should our assemblies, including the Senate and the Economic, Social and Environmental Councils, play in representing our territories and civil society? Should we transform them and how?

In addition, a great democracy like France must be able to listen more often to the voice of its citizens.

What changes do you want to make citizen participation more active, democracy more participative?

Should unelected citizens, chosen at random, have greater and more direct involvement in public decision making?

Should we increase the use of referendums and who should decide on how and when?


9 thoughts on “French President Macron mentions some “level of proportionality”

  1. How proportionate will the National Assembly be? Is it going to be a 2 Round MMP system or an open party list system as in 1986? Will PR backfire on Macron?

  2. Today Macron announced the result of his “great national debate” that began January 14, 2019. He had stated “The system of representation is the bedrock of our Republic, but it must be improved because many do not feel represented after the votes. What is the right level of proportional representation in parliamentary elections for a fairer say to be given to all political perspectives?” Answer: 20%. This share of 20% had been debated for the past year: would it be the 15% proposed last summer, 20%, or 25%?

  3. For an MMP system, what is the lowest percentage of adjustment seats that will lead to over proportionality? I would think no fewer than 20% but what if there are substantial overhangs, then does an MMP system become a MMM system?

  4. Rob,
    The number of adjustment seats you need will depend very much on how the parties’ votes are distributed. If 3 parties have popular vote split 40:30:30 more or less uniformly across districts, the single-member seats might go 100:0:0 and you need 3 top-up seats for every 2 SMD seats.

    On the other hand, if minor parties have electoral strongholds, you could see seats go 40:30:30 and no top-up is needed.

  5. With a smaller parliament, partly elected nationwide, there will be a redistricting in many départements. (Current districts are used since 2012.) Moreover, the building blocs for districting in France, the cantons, have been totally redrawn in 2014. Could this redistricting opportunity be the main reason for the reform?

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