There are several councils, whose role is to contribute to the proper functioning of the Republic: the Constitutional Council, the Council of State, the Economic and Social Council, the High Council of the Judiciary, the High Court of Justice and the Court of Justice of the Republic.
THE CONSTITUTIONAL COUNCIL
The Constitutional Council sees that the Constitution is observed. It consists of nine members, whose term of office is nine years and is not renewable. Three are appointed by the President of the Republic, three by the president of the National Assembly and three by the President of the Senate. The role of the Constitutional Council is to: ensure that statutes and institutional Acts are constitutional; rule on the proper conduct of elections and referendum proceedings; decide if the President of the Republic can no longer carry out his duties; advise on matters in which the President may be led to take exceptional measures.
THE COUNCIL OF STATE
The Council of State is a council of the Government and gives legal advice on the texts of statutes and administrative decisions. It is divided into four specialised sections: the Interior, Finance, Public Works and Social Sections. It can be consulted by the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister or other ministers on specific subjects. The Council of State is also the court of final appeal in disputes involving the State and public entities. Any citizen who is in dispute with the State may request a ruling by the Council of State.
THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL
It has 230 members, of whom approximately two-thirds are appointed by professional organisations and one third by the Government. Its chief function is to give its opinion on Government bills, Members' bills, draft ordinances and decrees submitted to it. It may also be consulted by the Government on any economic or social issue (and any plan or programme bill of an economic or social nature must be submitted to it for its opinion).
THE HIGH COUNCIL OF THE JUDICIARY
It is presided over by the President of the Republic. Its vice-president is the Minister of Justice. It consists of twenty members: ten have jurisdiction for judges and ten for public prosecutors. It also gives its opinion on nominations for the appointment of judges and public prosecutors. Finally, it acts as the disciplinary council for judges.
THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
It is composed of 24 judges (twelve deputies and twelve senators elected by their assemblies). Its role is to judge the President of the Republic in the event of an accusation of high treason. The High Court of Justice has not been used since the Fifth Republic was founded.
THE COURT OF JUSTICE OF THE REPUBLIC
The Court of Justice of the Republic was created in 1993. Its task is to judge members of the Government accused of serious crimes or other major offences performed in the exercise of their duties. It is composed of 15 judges : 6 deputies, 6 senators and 3 magistrates.
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