Debates in public session
One of the powers of the Chamber is the organisation of debates during which the different political positions are presented to the public. The details of all these procedures are set out in the Rules of Procedure of the Chamber of Deputies.
The debate on a government bill or a private member’s bill: a key step of the legislative procedure
On the Conference of Presidents’ decision, the government bill or private member’s bill is placed on the agenda of a public session. At the start of the session, the President asks for the Chamber’s approval of the proposed agenda. Generally, the Rapporteur presents the committee’s work and its conclusions, as well as the opinions of the Council of State and the professional chambers. The proposed legislation is then discussed by the members of the Chamber of Deputies and amended if at least five deputies request it. Before the vote, the minister responsible for the issue may take the floor.
The general debate: a response to a request from deputies
At the initiative of at least five deputies, the Chamber of Deputies may organise a general debate. This discussion on a topic of general interest may be accompanied by a report drafted by a parliamentary committee.
The consultation debate: a response to a request from the government
The Chamber of Deputies may organise a consultation debate at the government’s request.
Interpellation: a right applicable to each deputy
Each deputy has the right to address an ‘interpellation’ to the government. This is a written request for a public discussion which must be limited to issues of public interest.
The debate on the state of the Nation: following the declaration of the President of the Government
Each year, during the first semester, the President of the government makes a declaration of general policy on the state of the Nation to the Chamber. This declaration on the social, economic, and financial situation of the country is followed by a debate, which is carried out within the space of a week.
The debate on financial and budgetary policy: a stage in the committee examination process
Within the Chamber of Deputies, the Finance and Budget Committee is in charge of examining the bill on the revenue and expenditure budget for the coming year. This examination follows a very precise procedure which provides for a week of discussions prior to the vote on the bill, during the month of December.
Debate on European and foreign policy
The Minister of Foreign Affairs presents an annual report on the country’s European and foreign policy. The deputies may adopt a position during a debate following the declaration.