Municipal Council (France)

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The municipal council in France (French: conseil municipal ) is the collegial body appointed to represent the municipality or the member of such an organ. The German translation Munizipalrat is mainly used for municipal councils in Germany during the French period, see section History .

In the French Republic there is a local council in every commune (French commune ). The municipality is the lowest level of the so-called local authorities ( collectivités territoriales ). The members are elected by direct election. The municipal council elects the mayor ( maire ) and his or her deputy ( adjoints ) from among its ranks .


Despite the enormous differences in population, the municipal council (like the mayor) has exactly the same powers in every municipality, regardless of its size (with the exception of the capital Paris , where the supervision of the police lies with the central state and not with the mayor). This unified position is a legacy of the French Revolution , which sought to eliminate the local idiosyncrasies and the enormous differences that existed during the Ancien Régime . The size of a municipality only determines the size of the municipality council and its voting mode.

The local council must meet at least once a quarter, but usually meets once a month. The municipal council manages the smallest French territorial unit with legal and financial autonomy, the municipality.


The voting system differs depending on the size of the municipality. In municipalities with fewer than 1000 inhabitants, the members of the municipal council are elected in two ballots in a majority system. In municipalities with more than 1000 inhabitants, the members of the municipal council are elected according to the proportional representation system with a premium for the winning list. The winning list (absolute majority in the first or simple majority in the second ballot) receives at least half of the seats to be filled. The other half is distributed proportionally to the candidates on the lists who have received at least 5% of the vote according to the share of the vote.

The three largest cities in France - Paris , Marseille and Lyon - are divided into several electoral sectors which, according to the electoral system for municipalities with more than 1000 inhabitants, elect a certain number of municipal councils, which then together form the municipal council of the city. In addition to these councils, the voters of the three cities elect district advisors ( conseillers d'arrondissement ), who have a mainly advisory role. The parish of Paris does not actually have a parish council. Since it is the only municipality that has also been a department since 1964 , it has only one council, the so-called Conseil de Paris , which exercises both the role of the municipal council and that of the general council .


During the Napoleonic period , the German cities that belonged to the French Empire also had a municipal council based on the French municipal constitutional law introduced at the time. The same applied to the newly created satellite states , such as the Kingdom of Westphalia . After the end of the wars of liberation , there was a return to German law.

Individual evidence

  1. Élections municipales | Retrieved March 25, 2020 .