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France: Regulations on the use of the national flag on land

Last modified: 2002-10-26 by ivan sache
Keywords: law | mayor | sash | seal |
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Use of flags during elections

Question: Is it legally prescribed to hoist the Tricolor flag on the premises of a polling station?

Answer: No, there is neither a law nor a regulation prescribing it.

[Answer to M. Bernard Derosier, Official Gazette of the National Assembly, Written questions from 26 July 1999, p. 4599.]

Ivan Sache, 13 April 2001

Wearing of the tricolor sash

Question: Is there a regulation on the wearing of the Tricolor sash by the Mayor and the Deputies Mayors?

Answer: Yes, there is.
According to article R. 122-2 of the Commune Codes, "the Mayors shall wear the Tricolor sash with golden-fringed gloves for public ceremonies and every time the exercise of their functions may require that distinctive emblem of their authority".

This is the only regulation about that matter, which deals only with the circumstances in which the sash shall be worn. However, according to a well-established custom, the Town Councillors (the Mayor and the Deputies Mayors) wear the Mayoral sash from right shoulder to left side. The gloves are placed on the left, to the waist. Wearing the blue stripe upwards and the red one downwards is more natural, because it matches the unfurling of the national emblem from hoist, as prescribed by article 2 of the Constitution of 4 October 1958: 'The national emblem is the tricolor, blue, white, red, flag.' Wearing the sash girding one's loins is also possible.

[Answer to M. Thierry Mariani, Official Gazette of the National Assembly, Written questions from 15 March 1999, p. 1604.]

Ivan Sache, 13 April 2001

Seal of the municipalities

Question: Is the design of the communal seal, affixed to the municipal acts, subjected to specific rules?

Answer: No, it isn't.
The official seals and stamps of the municipalities shall authentify the acts emitted by the municipal authorities. There are neither laws nor regulations prescribing the design of the municipal seals. Some of them show the municipal blason, the name of the commune (municipality) surrounded by a laurel or oak wreath, or, more traditionnally, the effigy of the Republic [Marianne] surrounded by the name of the commune.

Use of the municipal seals is prescribed by the law of 18 March 1918 regulating manufacturing and selling of official seals and stamps. Manufacturing them is not permitted without written permission of the Mayor. Moreover, forgery, manufacture or fraudulent use of municipal seals is punished by Penal Code, articles 444-3 and 444-4.

[Answer to M. Dominique Paille, Official Gazette of the National Assembly, Written questions from 5 January 1998, p. 92.]

Ivan Sache, 15 April 2001

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