National Assembly (France)

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Assemblée National
National Assembly
logo Parliament building
logo building
Basic data
Seat: Palais Bourbon , Paris
Legislative period : 5 years
First session: December 9, 1958
MPs: 577
Current legislative period
Last choice: June 11th and 18th, 2017
Chair: Congregation President : Richard Ferrand ( REM )
Distribution of seats: According to factions

Government: (327)

  • SEM 281
  • MoDem 46
  • Opposition: (248)
  • LR 104
  • SOC 28
  • UDI 19
  • LT 18
  • FI 17
  • EDS 17
  • Agir 17th
  • GDR 16
  • non-attached 12
  • Website

    The National Assembly ( French Assemblée nationale [ a.sɑ̃ɔ'nal ]) is the lower house ( French Chambre basse ) of the French Parliament . The upper house is called in France Sénat ; they form a bicameral system . The French political system has a strong executive under a semi-presidential system of government ; the president has more power than in most other western countries.

    First National Assembly 1789

    On August 8, 1788, Louis XVI. for the first time in 174 years the Estates General (members of the First, Second and Third Estate) for the revolutionary year 1789 . After the opening of the meeting on May 5th, nothing happened because the third stand insisted on carrying out the electoral test , i.e. checking whether all MPs were legally elected, together, which the representatives of the two other stands refused to do. The Third Stand was not ready to compromise, but invited the representatives of the other Estates to attend its meetings.

    On June 13th three clergy accepted this invitation. Other privileged people willing to reform joined in the next few days.

    On June 17, 491 against 90 members declared themselves to be the National Assembly; they no longer saw themselves as representatives of their class, but of the entire French nation.

    This made the National Assembly one of the first modern, non-class parliaments on the European continent. Their main task was to draft a constitution in which the assumption of power by the bourgeoisie was codified.

    On August 26, 1789, against the will of the king , the National Assembly proclaimed the declaration of human and civil rights introduced by the Marquis de La Fayette and decided to incorporate it into the constitution .

    Another story

    Since then, the French legislative (and also constituent) assemblies have often been called the National Assembly, so

    Based on the name, a constituent assembly was often referred to as a national assembly in other countries .


    Plenary hall


    The members of the National Assembly are elected in two ballots for five years each according to the Romansh majority voting system. Every French person who has reached the age of 18, is entered in the electoral roll and has not been deprived of the right to vote is entitled to vote. Any French who are over 18 years of age and, if required to do so, have completed military or community service, can be elected. He must not have been deprived of the right to vote. Up to and including the 2007 election, the minimum age for eligibility was 23.

    For the election to the National Assembly 577 constituencies are formed, in each of which one member is elected. For the first time in the 2012 election, constituencies will be set up for the French living abroad, which will reduce the number of constituencies formed on the national territory. In total there are:

    The constituencies are formed in such a way that they lie within a department . Depending on its size, a department comprises 2 to 24 constituencies, one constituency comprises around 66,400 eligible voters. German-speaking countries are in the 6th (Switzerland) or 7th constituency of the French abroad .

    Candidates do not have to live in their constituency. However, a candidate may not run in more than one constituency.

    In the first ballot, a candidate is elected if he can get an absolute majority of the valid votes cast. The number of votes must also be at least 25% of the eligible voters entered in the electoral roll.

    If none of the candidates can achieve an absolute majority, there will be a second ballot for which a relative majority is sufficient. Those candidates who were able to reach at least 12.5% ​​of the eligible voters in the first ballot, but at least the two first-placed candidates in the first ballot, may participate in the second ballot. It is common for parties that are politically close to agree on a common candidate before the second ballot, so that often only two (left and bourgeois-right) or three candidates (left, bourgeois-right, extreme- right) face; the latter occurs when no agreements are made between the bourgeois and the extreme right.

    In the event of a tie in the second ballot, the oldest candidate among the tied votes is elected.

    In the event of suspected regulatory offenses during the election, every voter and every candidate has the right to contest the election with the Constitutional Council. The latter has the option of rejecting the objection, changing the election result or declaring the election invalid. In this case the election must be repeated.

    In the 2012 election , the left-wing PS received 29.35% of the vote, the conservative UMP received 27.12% of the vote, the right-wing extremist Front National received 13.6% of the vote and 6.91% of the voters voted for the left Front de gauche . The rest was split between various parties on the extreme left ( communists , Trotskyists ), the centrists and the Greens . The numbers refer to the first round of voting, in which 57.22% of the voters cast their votes .

    If a member of parliament dies or if the mandate is suspended due to the assumption of certain functions (e.g. membership in the government), a representative named in the nomination takes the place of the member. If the mandate expires for any other reason, a by-election will take place within three months. There will be no by-elections in the last twelve months of the legislative period.


    To become a member of parliament, one must be 18 years old and have completed military or community service. Senior civil servants are generally excluded from the election. These include: prefects in their departments or regions, sub-prefects, judges, public prosecutors and police directors at department level and inspectors general. In the case of prefects, the non-eligibility extends to three years and in the case of sub-prefects to one year after the end of their term of office.

    A member of parliament may not simultaneously belong to the Senate , the government , the Constitutional Council or the Economic and Social Council , or be assigned a mandate (mission) by the government that lasts longer than six months. Working as Défenseur des droits is also incompatible with membership in the National Assembly. Since 1972, this regulation has also applied to general managers of state or private companies that receive a large number of government contracts or subsidies.

    When joining the government, the mandate of the MP is suspended. In this case, as well as in the event of death, entry into the Constitutional Council, appointment as Défenseur des droits or a government mandate of more than six months, a deputy to be specified at the election takes the place of the representative. If membership in the government ends, an MP can resume his mandate one month after leaving the government; the deputy loses his mandate accordingly. In all other cases, leaving the National Assembly for the current electoral term is final. If a Member leaves the National Assembly for reasons other than those mentioned, a by-election will take place within three months; this does not apply in the last 12 months before the end of the legislative period.

    Since 1985, due to an organic law (loi organique), MPs have only been able to accumulate offices to a limited extent. In addition to the mandate in the National Assembly, a parliamentarian may hold a maximum of one of the following mandates: a seat in the European Parliament (double membership has been prohibited since 2004), regional or general council or city council of Paris, mayor of a municipality with at least 20,000 inhabitants, deputy mayor one Municipality with at least 100,000 inhabitants or member of a territorial administration of an overseas area . Within 15 days of the election, a member of parliament has to decide which of the offices he wants to hold.

    The exercise of a further municipal or regional office is common. In the composition after the 1993 elections, 267 deputies held the office of mayor, 248 were general councilors and a further 89 deputies were members of a regional council. The strong local anchoring of the MPs is justified by the fact that many careers on the national level start locally and the representatives do not want to give up their offices for various reasons. In addition, the power political weight of a member of parliament is reinforced by a regional office in Paris. Since most French people would like their MPs to represent local or regional issues in Paris, exercising a local mandate increases the chances of a member of parliament being re-elected.


    The members of the National Assembly come together to form political groups. A parliamentary group must have at least 15 members who must submit a joint policy statement to the President of the National Assembly. It is customary for a parliamentary group to include MPs from different but closely related parties; otherwise most of the parties represented in the National Assembly would not be able to form a parliamentary group through majority voting. A specialty in French parliamentarism are the so-called apparentés . These are MEPs who do not belong to a political group (because they have not signed the declaration of principle), but who assign themselves to it. They are included in the allocation of committee seats in the parliamentary group.

    Current distribution of seats (as of June 13, 2020)
    fraction involved parties Members Apparentés Total number Group leader
      Groupe La République en Marche! (REM)
    Group The Republic in Motion!
    258 REM , 8 MR , 6 DVC , 5 AC , 3 , 1 DVG and 1 GUSR
    2 DVC and 1 DVG
    278 3
    Gilles Le Gendre
      Groupe Les Républicains (LR)
    Group The Republicans
    97 LR and 1 SL
    5 DVD and 1 SL
    98 6th
    Damien Abad
      Groupe Mouvement démocrate (MoDem)
    Group Democratic Movement
    41 MoDem
    2 MoDem, 2 REM and 2 DVG
    40 6th
    Patrick Mignola
      Groupe Socialistes (SOC)
    group of socialists
    26 PS
    1 MDC , 1 PPM , 1 G · s and 1 DVG
    26th 4th
    Valérie Rabault
      Groupe UDI et indépendants
    Group UDI and independents
    11 UDI (4 LC , 3 UDI , 2 FED , 1 PR , 1 Independent ),
    2 TH - UDI , 2 CE - UDI , 2 LR , 1 DVD
    18th 0
    Jean-Christophe Lagarde
      Groupe Libertés et Territoires
    Group Freedoms and Territories
    3 PaC , 2 MR , 2 LC , 2 PRG , 2 DVG , 2 DVD , 1 PP , 1 R! , 1 LEF , 1 UDI , 1 DVC
    18th 0
    Betrand Pancher , Philippe Vigier
      Groupe La France insoumise (FI)
    Insurgent France
    17 FI (4 FI , 8 PDG , 2 E!, 1 E! - GRS , 1 Picardie Debout, 1 RÉ974 )
    17th 0
    Jean-Luc Mélenchon
      Groupe Écologie, démocratie, solidarité
    Group Ecology, Democracy, Solidarity
    11 DVC , 4 REM , 1 , 1 MDP
    17th 0
    Paula Forteza , Matthieu Orphelin
      Groupe Agir Ensemble
    Group acting together
    9 Agir , 4 REM , 2 MR , 2 DVC
    17th 0
    Olivier Becht
      Groupe Gauche démocrate et républicaine (GDR)
    Group of Left Democrats and Republicans
    11 PCF , 1 PLR , 1 Péyi-A , 1 PSG , 1 TH and 1 DVG
    16 0
    André Chassaigne
      non-attached 6 RN , 1 VA , 1 DLF , 1 LP , 1 LS and 3 independents / /


    The Presidium of the National Assembly consists of a President, six Vice-Presidents, three Quaestors (a kind of manager) and 12 secretaries . The President is elected in the first session after the new election of the National Assembly for the duration of the legislative period by secret ballot; For the election, an absolute majority of the votes cast is required in two ballots, in a third ballot a relative majority is sufficient. The other members of the Presidium are re-elected in the second session of the National Assembly after a new election and then annually at the beginning of the session. A joint proposal from the group chairmen is to be found for the members of the Presidium. If there are no more candidates for the respective function in the Presidium than there are places available, there is no election, but the candidates are appointed immediately; in the other case there is a joint ballot for all positions in the respective function; in the first two ballots all candidates are elected who have achieved an absolute majority of the votes cast, in a third ballot the candidates with the most votes until all places are taken.

    Until a president is elected, the senior president acts as chairman, the six youngest MPs as secretary.

    Current Presidium of the National Assembly
    function owner fraction
    president Richard Ferrand SEM
    Vice President Carole Bureau-Bonnard SEM
    Hugues Renson SEM
    Danielle Brulebois SEM
    Sacha Houlié SEM
    Sylvain Waserman MODEM
    Cendra Motin SEM
    Quaestors Florian Bachelier SEM
    Laurianne Rossi SEM
    Thierry Solère LCRUDII
    Secretaries Lénaïck Adam SEM
    Ramlati Ali SEM
    Clementine Autain FI
    Luc Carvounas NG
    Lionel Causse SEM
    Stephanie Do. SEM
    Laurence Dumont NG
    Marie Guévenoux SEM
    Annaïg Le Meur SEM
    Sophie Mette MODEM
    Gabriel Serville GDR
    Guillaume Vuilletet SEM


    There are eight standing committees in the National Assembly. In addition, special committees can be set up at the request of the government or a resolution of the National Assembly. The committees are made up of the parliamentary groups proportionally according to their size. The standing committees also include non-attached members, with the oldest applicants for membership being named here.

    The standing committees are:

    1. Committee on Culture and Education ( Commission des affaires culturelles et de l'éducation )
    2. Economic Committee ( Commission des affaires économiques )
    3. Foreign Affairs Committee ( Commission des affaires étrangères )
    4. Social Affairs Committee ( Commission des affaires sociales )
    5. Defense and Military Committee ( Commission de la défense nationale et des forces armées )
    6. Committee on Sustainable Development and Spatial Planning ( Commission du développement durable et de l'aménagement du territoire )
    7. Committee on Finance, Economy and Budgetary Control ( Commission des finances, de l'économie générale et du contrôle budgetaire )
    8. Committee on the Constitution, Legislation and Administration ( Commission des lois constitutionnelles, de la législation et de l'administration générale de la République )

    The National Assembly as part of the legislation

    In France, the laws are passed by parliament. The legislative area - defined in Article 34 of the French Constitution - covers the following areas:

    Assemblée Nationale
    • the public freedoms
    • Establishing crimes and misdemeanors
    • Collection of taxes
    • Budget law
    • national defense
    • Administration of local authorities
    • Education
    • Property right
    • Employment Law
    • Social security financing

    In 1996 the legislative area was expanded to include the last aspect.

    The other areas fall under the jurisdiction of the government, as they are merely of a regulatory nature. The Constitutional Council and the Council of State ( Conseil d'État ) take care of the delimitation of the legislative and regulatory areas .

    Competence in international contracts

    Above all, the National Assembly examines bills that are necessary for the ratification of international treaties. They are negotiated by the French President . These are:

    • Peace treaties
    • Commercial contracts
    • Public finance contracts
    • Contracts on civil status
    • Contracts for changing legal provisions

    These treaties can only come into force once they have been ratified by the National Assembly. Thus the legislature controls the president. Since October 1974, a minority of at least 60 MPs can appeal to the Constitutional Council to have a law examined whether it is constitutional. Previously, this was only possible for the president, the prime minister or the presidents of the two legislative chambers. In practice, the President makes the most use of it. Since 1992 there has also been an obligation on the part of the government, the National Assembly and the Senate to immediately forward drafts and proposals relating to matters of the European Union that have the character of a law.

    Constitutional amendment

    For a constitutional amendment, in addition to the approval of the National Assembly, there must also be approval of the Senate. At the end of the day, however, a constitutional amendment still requires ratification by the people or, in the case of a draft, by resolution of the President by the Congress of Parliament (a joint meeting of the National Assembly and the Senate). In the latter case, however, a hurdle of three fifths of the votes cast is set.

    The legislative process

    Legislative initiative

    The right to initiate a law rests with the government as well as with the deputies or senators . In the government they are called bills (projets de loi), in the case of the members of parliament they are called bills (proposition de loi). Every MEP has the right to propose a law - however, before it is published, the Bureau will examine it for Article 40 of the French Constitution, which stipulates that this law must not increase expenditure or reduce state revenues.

    Committee deliberations

    In the second step, the draft law - or the legislative proposal - is forwarded to one of the eight standing committees for technical advice. In rare cases, a special committee is formed. In addition, other standing parliamentary committees that have not been entrusted with the draft or proposal can intervene.

    A so-called rapporteur is appointed to each committee who, after examining the text, submits a draft report or an opinion with its conclusions to colleagues. After deliberation, the committee usually adopts the report or opinion, with amendments usually still being made.


    Once the report has been approved by the committee, it will be debated in plenary . MEPs first have to vote on each individual article and on the additional motions. This is followed by the vote on the entire text. The approved draft is referred to the other chamber, where the same procedure takes place. In order for the law to be legally binding and to be promulgated by the President, it must be passed in the same wording by both chambers (shuttle procedure or "navette").


    Palais Bourbon (seat of the National Assembly)

    The seat of Parliament is Paris. The Palais Bourbon (built 1722) is located on the left bank of the Seine with a view towards Place de la Concorde between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense : Assemblée Nationale, 126, rue de l'Université, 75355 Paris.

    See also: List of members of the National Assembly of the 12th electoral term (France) , List of members of the National Assembly of the 13th electoral term (France) , List of members of the National Assembly of the 14th electoral term (France) and List of members of the National Assembly of the 15th electoral term (France) Parliamentary term (France)


    • Udo Kempf: From de Gaulle to Chirac: The French political system. 3., rework. and exp. Edition Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen 1997, ISBN 3-531-12973-2 .
    • Bernhard Schmidt, Jürgen Doll, Walther Fekl, Siegfried Loewe, Fritz Taubert: France Lexicon: key terms on economy, society, politics, history, press and education (= basics of Romance studies. Vol. 13). 2., revised. and exp. Edition Erich Schmidt, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-503-07991-2 .
    • Hans J. Tümmers: The political system of France. An introduction (= Beck'sche series . Vol. 1665). Beck, Munich 2006, ISBN 978-3-406-52839-2 .
    • The National Assembly in the Fifth French Republic (= Series Annales Universitatis Saraviensis . Law and economics department. Volume 110). Heymann, Cologne a. a. 1983, ISBN 3-452-19546-5 (Zugl .: Saarbrücken, Univ., Diss., 1979).

    Web links

    Commons : National Assembly (France)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

    Individual evidence

    1. Ministère de l'Intérieur: Résultats des élections législatives 2012. In:, accessed on October 10, 2016 (French).
    2. Article LO176 of the Code électoral
    3. Article LO178 of the Code électoral
    4. Udo Kempf: From de Gaulle to Chirac: The political system of France. 3., rework. and exp. Edition Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen 1997, ISBN 3-531-12973-2 , p. 114 f.
    5. Groupes politiques. Assemblée nationale, May 7, 2018, accessed May 7, 2018 (French).