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What to know about politics and the French government?

Updated: Dec 21, 2023

Getting to Know French Politics

Moving to a new country? It's wise to know about its government and politics. This is important in France, where the government system is unique. Let's dive in and understand French politics better so you feel more at home if you move there.

The Basics of the French Government

France has a rich history of democracy, dating back to 1789. The current system is based on the Fifth Republic's Constitution from 1958. It's a mix of presidential and parliamentary systems.

  • The President: The head of state and a key figure. The President picks the Prime Minister.

  • The Prime Minister: The head of government. They often resign before their term ends for various reasons.

  • The Parliament Has two parts - the National Assembly (lower house) and the Senate (upper house). The Assembly is more well-known, but both are powerful.

  • Local Government: France has regions, departments, and communes. They handle local stuff like schools and roads.

Emmanuel Macron is the President, and Elisabeth Borne is the Prime Minister. Macron's party, La République En Marche!, is central to French politics.

Major Political Parties in France

French politics can be confusing with many parties. Here's a quick overview of the main ones:

  • La République En Marche! (LREM): A centrist party founded by President Macron. It's liberal and pro-European.

  • The Republicans (Les Républicains): A major conservative party. They have a mix of conservative views.

  • Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste): Once a dominant left-wing party, now less popular. They support social democracy.

  • National Rally (Rassemblement National): A far-right party known for anti-immigration and nationalism.

  • France Insoumise: A new left-wing party promoting democratic socialism and eco-socialism.

  • Democratic Movement (MoDem): A centrist party similar to LREM. They focus on social and economic liberalism.

  • Europe Ecology – The Greens: Focuses on green policies, social justice, and pro-Europeanism.

Voting in France

French citizens 18 and older can vote. They vote for the President, Parliament, and local elections. The voting system is a bit complex, with two rounds for national elections. Non-EU residents must become citizens to vote.

The Political Landscape

France's political scene has shifted between the centre-right and centre-left over the years. It's a stable democracy but has faced challenges like protests and debates over EU membership.

Getting Involved

If you're in France, you can join local activist groups or even get involved in local politics if you're from the EU. You can also join trade unions for workplace rights.



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