Six months before it takes place, the French media is already covering the 2022 presidential election. But do you know how the French political system works? Let’s take a look at the most important political institutions in France.

The president (le président)

The president of the Republic is chosen directly by the people – there are no intermediaries. Presidential elections take place every five years. The current president is Emmanuel Macron, who belongs to the political party La République En Marche.

The National Assembly (l’Assemblée nationale)

The National Assembly is the lower house of the French bicameral parliament. Its members are chosen in a legislative election on direct ballot every five years, just like the president. The National Assembly has 577 seats and its legislators are called député(e)s.

The Senate (le Sénat)

The Senate is the upper house of the parliament and it has less prominence than the National Assembly. Its members are not chosen directly by the people – people vote for local counselors (conseillers, conseillères) who in turn vote for the senators (senateurs, senatrices). There are 348 senators who represent all the regions in France, and their term lasts for six years.

The ministers (les ministres)

At the beginning of their ruling period, the president appoints a prime minister (premier ministre, première ministre). Then both of them choose the rest of the ministers, who make up the Government. The current prime minister is Jean Castex.

The judicial branch (institutions judiciaires)

We already took a look at the legislative branch (the Parliament) and the executive branch (the Government) of the French Republic. The institutions that apply the law in the name of the state are Court of Cassation (Cour de Cassation), which deals with private law, and the State Council (Conseil d’État), which is in charge of public law.

After this overview of the main political institutions in France, you’ll be able to follow the news like a local! And if you don’t feel confident enough in French, you can check the courses that we offer here at French in Bordeaux.