France’s political system : Election Process

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July 9, 2024

France’s political system : Election Process

France’s political system is a semi-presidential representative democratic republic, which means that it combines elements of both presidential and parliamentary systems.

Political System

Executive Branch

  1. President:
    • The President of France is the head of state and is elected for a five-year term (renewable once).
    • The President has significant powers, including appointing the Prime Minister, presiding over the Council of Ministers, and representing France internationally.
    • The current President (as of 2023) is Emmanuel Macron.
  2. Prime Minister:
    • The Prime Minister is the head of government and is appointed by the President.
    • The Prime Minister leads the government and the Council of Ministers, implementing policies and managing the day-to-day affairs of the government.
    • The Prime Minister and the government are responsible to the National Assembly and can be dismissed by a vote of no confidence.

Legislative Branch:

  • Bicameral Parliament: France has a bicameral parliament consisting of two houses:
    1. National Assembly (Assemblée Nationale):
      • The lower house of Parliament with 577 members (deputies) elected for five-year terms.
      • Deputies are elected through a two-round system from single-member constituencies.
    2. Senate (Sénat):
      • The upper house of Parliament with 348 senators elected for six-year terms, with half of the seats up for election every three years.
      • Senators are elected by an electoral college consisting of local elected officials.


  • Constitutional Council: Ensures the constitutionality of laws and oversees elections and referendums.
  • Council of State (Conseil d’État): Advises the government on legal matters and acts as the highest administrative court.
  • Court of Cassation: The highest court of appeal for civil and criminal cases.

Main Political Parties

  1. La République En Marche! (LREM):
    • Centrist party founded by Emmanuel Macron in 2016.
    • Focuses on pro-European Union policies, economic reform, and social liberalism.
  2. Les Républicains (LR):
    • Center-right party, successor to the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP).
    • Advocates for conservative policies, economic liberalism, and a strong stance on national security.
  3. Parti Socialiste (PS):
    • Center-left party, historically one of the major political forces in France.
    • Promotes social democracy, welfare state policies, and labor rights.
  4. La France Insoumise (LFI):
    • Left-wing populist party led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
    • Emphasizes anti-austerity measures, environmentalism, and social justice.
  5. Rassemblement National (RN):
    • Far-right party led by Marine Le Pen (formerly known as the National Front).
    • Focuses on nationalism, anti-immigration policies, and Euroscepticism.
  6. Europe Écologie – Les Verts (EELV):
    • Green party advocating for environmental protection, renewable energy, and social justice.

Election Process:

  1. Presidential Elections:
    • Held every five years using a two-round system.
    • If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in the first round, a second round is held between the top two candidates.
  2. Legislative Elections:
    • Held every five years for the National Assembly.
    • Deputies are elected using a two-round system in single-member constituencies. If no candidate wins an outright majority in the first round, a second round is held among candidates who received a certain percentage of votes.
  3. Senatorial Elections:
    • Held every three years to elect half of the Senate.
    • Senators are elected by an electoral college of local officials.
  4. European Parliament Elections:
    • Held every five years to elect Members of the European Parliament (MEPs).
    • France uses a proportional representation system.
  5. Local Elections:
    • Include regional, departmental, and municipal elections.
    • Various electoral systems are used depending on the type of election, including proportional representation and two-round systems.

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France’s political system : Election Process | Vaid ICS Institute