Political finance

General

How are political parties and politicians funded in your jurisdiction?

In France, political parties are funded by private and public resources.

Private resources include subscriptions of political parties’ members and private donations. These donations can only be made by individuals and are capped at €7,500 per individual (€15,000 per tax household) per year.

Public resources are subject to certain conditions, in particular to a certain amount based on the votes expressed for each political party whose candidates reach at least 1 per cent of expressed votes in a legislative election, as well as to a certain amount based on the number of parliamentarians from the relevant political party sitting in the National Assembly and the Senate (around €40,000 per elected representative).

Elected representatives’ revenues (which include benefits in kind) are capped, no matter how many mandates they hold. In practice, elected representatives usually grant between 10 per cent and 30 per cent of their revenue to their political party.

Registration of interests

Must parties and politicians register or otherwise declare their interests? What interests, other than travel, hospitality and gifts, must be declared?

In France, members of the National Assembly and senators, ministers and elected representatives must solemnly, exhaustively and sincerely declare their financial situation, as well as the financial situation of their spouse and all assets held in joint tenancy.

They must also disclose their interests, which may arise in relation to their own or to their spouse’s professional activity, to the shares they hold in any company, to the board of a company or to any volunteer activities likely to cause a conflict of interest.

This declaration is reviewed and published by the HATVP.

Contributions to political parties and officials

Are political contributions or other disbursements to parties and political officials limited or regulated? How?

Political contributions to parties and political officials are regulated and limited (see question 17).

Sources of funding for political campaigns

Describe how political campaigns for legislative positions and executive offices are financed.

In France, funding comes from individuals’ donations, political parties’ donations and personal loans. Individuals’ donations are capped at €4,600 per individual and per election. Political parties’ donations are capped at €7,500 per year and per political party. Only personal loans are not capped.

For all elections, each candidate has to name a financial agent, who will hold an account register that lists every source of funding. This account register is then certified by a chartered accountant and verified by the French National Commission for Campaign Accounts and Political Financing.

See question 17.

Lobbyist participation in fundraising and electioneering

Describe whether registration as a lobbyist triggers any special restrictions or disclosure requirements with respect to candidate fundraising.

French law forbids any lobbyist participation in fundraising and electioneering.

According to the Electoral Code, legal entities, except political parties or groups, may not contribute to the financing of a political campaign by providing grants in any form or by providing goods, services or other direct or indirect benefits at prices lower than those usually applied.

Independent expenditure and coordination

How is parallel political campaigning independent of a candidate or party regulated?

In France, individuals or groups not directly related to or controlled by a candidate or political party may operate a parallel media advertising or grass-roots campaign to support (or oppose) a candidate, either by speaking online, writing a book or talking on a radio show. They can be political analysts, researchers, authors or journalists.

The main limitation results from the French Superior Council of Audiovisual, which regulates the amount of broadcast time that is provided to each candidate, and the speaking time of candidates and parties during the election period.