National Assembly (France)

The National Assembly (French: Assemblée nationale; pronounced [asɑ̃ble nɑsjɔnal]) is the lower house of the bicameral French Parliament under the Fifth Republic, the upper house being the Senate (Sénat). The National Assembly's legislators are known as députés (French pronunciation: [depyˈte]; "delegate" or "envoy" in English; the word is an etymological cognate of the English word "deputy", which is the standard term for legislators in many parliamentary systems).

National Assembly

Assemblée nationale
15th legislature of the French Fifth Republic
Type
Type
History
Founded4 October 1958
(62 years ago)
 (1958-10-04)
Preceded byNational Assembly
(French Fourth Republic)
Leadership
Richard Ferrand, LREM
since 12 September 2018
Structure
Seats577 seats
Political groups
Government
  •   LREM group (270)[lower-alpha 1]

Confidence-and-supply

Opposition

Others

Elections
First-past-the-post voting (577 seats, two-round system)
Last election
11 and 18 June 2017
Next election
June 2022
Meeting place
Palais Bourbon, Paris
Website
www.assemblee-nationale.fr
Rules
Règlement de l’Assemblée nationale

There are 577 députés, each elected by a single-member constituency (at least one per department) through a two-round voting system. Thus, 289 seats are required for a majority. The President of the National Assembly, currently Richard Ferrand, presides over the body. The officeholder is usually a member of the largest party represented, assisted by vice presidents from across the represented political spectrum. The National Assembly's term is five years; however, the President of the Republic may dissolve the Assembly (thereby calling for new elections) unless it has been dissolved in the preceding twelve months. This measure has become rarer since the 2000 referendum reduced the presidential term from seven to five years: since 2002, the President of the Republic has always had a majority elected in the Assembly two months after the presidential election. It would accordingly be of little benefit to dissolve it. Due to the separation of powers, the President of the Republic may not take part in parliamentary debates. They can however address the Congress of the French Parliament, which meets at the Palace of Versailles, or have the address read by the presidents of both chambers of Parliament, with no subsequent debate.

Following a tradition started by the first National Assembly during the French Revolution, the "left-wing" parties sit to the left as seen from the president's seat and the "right-wing" parties to the right; the seating arrangement thus directly indicates the political spectrum as represented in the Assembly. The official seat of the National Assembly is the Palais Bourbon on the Rive Gauche of the Seine in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. The Assembly also uses other neighbouring buildings, including the Immeuble Chaban-Delmas on the Rue de l'Université. The National Assembly, as well as most institutions of importance in Paris, is guarded by Republican Guards.