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Politician likens parliament to a retirement home

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Politician likens parliament to a retirement home
10:16 CET+01:00

Socialist member of parliament Arnaud Montebourg has called for an age limit to be placed on parliamentary candidates to stop the upper and lower houses becoming filled with the "retired."

The 49-year-old MP, who represents the Saône-et-Loire region in the wine growing region of Burgundy, has called on the leader of the French socialists, Martine Aubry, to impose an age limit of 67 on candidates in future electiions.

France has two chambers, the National Assembly and the Senate. Elections to the National Assembly, which is housed in the Palais Bourbon, will take place in June 2012. Elections for Senate are held every three years, with the most recent elections in September 2011.

"The Palais Bourbon and the Senate can no longer be two assemblies of the retired," he said in an interview with daily newspaper Le Parisien. As evidence, he cited figures that 20 of the 186 Socialist MPs are over 68.

Montebourg was the surprise third-placed candidate in the recent elections to choose the Socialist candidate for the presidential elections, which will be held just before the parliamentary elections in 2012. 

François Hollande won the nomination in a final run-off against party general secretary Martine Aubry.

Some of the more senior members of parliament hit back at Montebourg's proposal on Wednesday.

Laurent Fabius, 65, joked that Montebourg himself was "rather old" at 49, given that Fabius himself had become prime minister at the age of 37.

Veteran Socialist MP and former minister Jack Lang, 72, insisted that "real youth" is "in your mind."

Montebourg hit back at both, saying that Fabius was lucky enough to be appointed by president François Mitterrand, "who had faith in young people." 

As for Jack Lang, he wondered if it might be better for him to "train up a young person."

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