Home France facts: Government
Last update on May 16, 2014

The facts on the government of France.

Country name:
Conventional long form: French Republic
Conventional short form: France
Local long form: République Française
Local short form: France

Government type: Republic

Capital: Paris
Geographic coordinates: 48 52 N, 2 20 E
Time zone: UTC plus 1 hr. for Metropolitan France only
Daylight saving time: Plus 1hr (UTC plus 2 hrs.) for Metropolitan France only.   Begins the last Sunday in March and ends the last Sunday in October which is in alignment with all EU countries.

Administrative divisions:
27 regions (regions, singular – region); Alsace, Aquitaine, Auvergne, Basse-Normandie (Lower Normandy), Bourgogne (Burgundy), Bretagne (Brittany), Centre, Champagne-Ardenne, Corse (Corsica), Franche-Comte, Guadeloupe, Guyane (French Guiana), Haute-Normandie (Upper Normandy), Ile-de-France, Languedoc-Roussillon, Limousin, Lorraine, Martinique, Mayotte, Midi-Pyrenees, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Pays de la Loire, Picardie, Poitou-Charentes, Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur, Reunion and Rhone-Alpes.
N.B. France is divided into 22 metropolitan regions (including the “territorial collectivity” of Corse or Corsica) and 5 overseas regions (French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and Reunion) and is sub-divided into 96 metropolitan departments and 5 overseas departments which are the same as the overseas regions.

Dependent areas:
Clipperton Island, French Polynesia, French Southern and Antarctic Lands, New Caledonia, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Wallis and Futuna.
N.B. New Caledonia has been considered a “sui generis” collectivity of France since 1998, a unique status falling between that of an independent country and a French overseas department.

Independence: No official date of independence: 486 (Frankish tribes unified under Merovingian kingship); 10 August 843 (Western Francia established from the division of the Carolingian Empire); 14 July 1789 (French monarchy overthrown); 22

September 1792 (First French Republic founded); 4 October 1958 (Fifth French Republic established).

National holiday: Fete de la Federation, 14 July (1790).
N.B. Although often incorrectly referred to as Bastille Day, the celebration actually commemorates the holiday held on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille (on 14 July 1789) and the establishment of a constitutional monarchy; other names

for the holiday are Fête Nationale (National Holiday) and Quatorze Juillet (14th of July)

Constitution: Adopted by referendum on 28 September 1958, became effective on 4 October 1958 and has been amended many times.
N.B. Amended in 1962 concerning election of president and amended to comply with provisions of 1992 EC Maastricht Treaty, the 1997 Amsterdam Treaty and the 2003 Treaty of Nice.  Amended in 1993 to tighten immigration laws. Amended in 2000 to change the seven-year presidential term to a five-year term.  Amended in 2005 to make the EU constitutional treaty compatible with the Constitution of France and to ensure that the decision to ratify EU accession treaties would be made by referenda.

Legal system: Civil law; review of administrative but not legislative acts.  French law continues to be modified to conform with the legislative norms mandated by the European Union.

Executive branch:
Chief of state: President Nicolas Sarkozy (since 16 May 2007)
Head of government: Prime Minister Francois Fillon (since 17 May 2007)
Cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the President at the suggestion of the Prime Minister.
Elections: President elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 22 April and 6 May 2007 (next to be held in the spring of 2012); Prime Minister appointed by the President.
Election results: Nicolas Sarkozy elected;
First round: percent of vote: Nicolas Sarkozy 31.2 percent, Ségolène Royal 25.9 percent, Francois Bayrou 18.6 percent, Jean-Marie Le Pen 10.4 percent, others 13.9 percent;
Second round percent of vote: Nicolas Sarkozy 53.1 percent, Ségolène Royal 46.9 percent
N.B. The above-mentioned section will be updated once definitive results have been confirmed for the Presidential Election that took place on 6 May 2012.

Legislative branch:
Bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of the Senate or Senat (348 seats; 328 for metropolitan France and overseas departments, 2 for New Caledonia, 2 for French Polynesia, 1 for Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, 1 for Saint-Barthelemy, 1 for

Saint-Martin, 1 for Wallis and Futuna, and 12 for French nationals abroad; members indirectly elected by an electoral college to serve six-year terms; one third elected every three years); and the National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (577

seats; 555 for metropolitan France, 15 for overseas departments, 7 for overseas dependencies; members elected by popular vote under a single-member majority system to serve five-year terms).

Senate – last held on 25 September 2011 (next to be held in September 2014);
National Assembly – last held on 10 and 17 June 2007 (next to be held in June 2012).

Election results:
Senate – percent of vote by party – N/A;
Seats by party: PS/Greens 140, UMP 132, UDF 31, PCF/MRC 21, PRG 17, other 7; National Assembly – percent of vote by party – UMP 46.4 percent, PS 42.2 percent, miscellaneous left wing parties 2.5 percent, PCF 2.3 percent, NC 2.1 percent, PRG 1.6 percent, miscellaneous right wing parties 1.2 percent, the Greens 0.4 percent, other 1.2 percent; seats by party – UMP 313, PS 186, NC 22, miscellaneous left wing parties 15, PCF 16, miscellaneous right wing parties 9, PRG 7, the Greens 3, other 6.
N.B. The above-mentioned section will be updated once definitive results have been confirmed for the Presidential Election that took place on 6 May 2012.

Judicial branch:
Supreme Court of Appeals or Cour de Cassation (judges are appointed by the President from nominations of the High Council of the Judiciary); Constitutional Council or Conseil Constitutionnel (three members appointed by the President, three appointed by the president of the National Assembly, and three appointed by the President of the Senate); Council of State or Conseil d’Etat

Political parties and leaders:
Centrist Union or UDF (Nicolas About); Democratic Movement or MoDem (Francois Bayrou) (previously Union for French Democracy or UDF); French Communist Party or PCF (Pierre Laurent); Greens (Cecile Duflot); Left Party or PG (Jean-Luc Melenchon); Left Radical Party or PRG (Jean-Michel BAYLET) (previously Radical Socialist Party or PRS and the Left Radical Movement or MRG); Movement for France or MPF (Philippe de Villiers); National Front or FN (Marine Le Pen); New  Anticapitalist Party or NPA (Myriam Martin and Christine Poupin); New Centre or NC (Herve Morin); Radical Party (Jean-Louis Borloo); Rally for France or RPF (Charles Pasqua); Republican and Citizen Movement or MRC (Jean-Luc Laurent);

Socialist Party or PS (Martine Aubry); United Republic or RS (Dominique de Villepin); Union for a Popular Movement or UMP (Nicolas Sarkozy); Worker’s Struggle or LO (Nathalie Arthaud).

Flag description: Three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), white, and red.  Known as the “Le drapeau tricolore” (French Tricolour), the origin of the flag dates back to 1790 and the French Revolution when the “ancient French colour” of white was combined with the blue and red colours of the Parisian militia.  The official flag for all French dependent areas.
N.B. The design and/or colours are similar to a number of other flags, including those of Belgium, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

National anthem: Name: “La Marseillaise” (The Song of Marseille).
N.B. Adopted 1795, restored 1870.  Originally known as “Chant de Guerre pour l’Armée du Rhin” (War Song for the Army of the Rhine), the National Guard of Marseille made the song famous by singing it while marching into Paris in 1792 during the French Revolutionary Wars.



CIA World Factbook / Expatica