The French Senate is often described as a bulwark of the right and of the rural areas, due to the indirect way in which it is elected (more or less by local councilors, as I understand). I've looked through the English and French wikipedia pages on the French Senate, but they don't seem to mention any examples when the Senate has made its right-wing composition felt, e.g. by blocking some notable left-wing initiatives. So, are there some well-known examples of that kind? (Apparently, the blocking powers of the Senate are limited to "constitutional laws", with the National Assembly being able to override in other cases, which might be why the examples aren't common, but I could be mistaken.)

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    For the sake of clarity - is the question strictly about the Fifth Republic Senate, i.e. since 1958? Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 3:20
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    @DanilaSmirnov: yes. Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 9:00
  • @DanilaSmirnov: I did manage to find some clear examples in the 3rd Republic, during the 1st Clemenceau government, when the Senate delayed a number of social reforms, but some were ultimately adopted shortly before WW1. Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 10:09
  • Not sure, if this is related to the current reform, where vote bloqué has somewhat different (rather specific) meaning - government demanding the Senate to pass a law in a single vote (according to article 44.3 of the constitution, invoking never fails to upset lots of people.)
    – Morisco
    Commented Apr 28, 2023 at 9:53

1 Answer 1


In 2021 the French senate blocked a referendum on adding a clause to the French Constitution to enshrine the fight against climate change.

The French Senate has voted to block a referendum promised by President Emmanuel Macron on whether to enshrine the fight against climate change in the French constitution.

The clause's original wording had been proposed by a panel of 150 citizens established by Macron to draw up policy proposals for battling climate change.

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