France covers an area of 248,573 square miles and has a population of approximately 67 million inhabitants. The capital and its largest city is Paris with a population of 10.6 million.
France is governed by semi-presidential system. The political system consists of an executive branch, a legislative branch and a judicial branch. The executive branch is run by the President and the Government. The Prime Minister, who is appointed by the President is responsible for Parliament.
The French Presidential elections will take place every five years, usually in April. If no candidate receives a majority, a run-off election takes place between the top two candidates, usually in May.
The French parliament consists of two houses; the National Assembly and the Senate. The judiciary is independent and the highest courts are the Court of Cassation (for the judicial branch) and the Conseil d’Etat (for the administrative courts).
The National Assembly is the principle legislative body and consist of 577 deputies. The deputies are elected for five year terms based on local majority votes.
The Senate is composed of senators. Senators are chosen by an electoral college for six year terms, half of the Senate is renewed every three years. There are currently 348 senators who represent the metropolitan, overseas departements, dependencies and the French established abroad.
The French political system is a multi-party system. The political spectrum is split across five areas: far-left, left, centre-ground, right, far-right
- Lutte Ouviere
- Parti de Gauche
- Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste
- Parti Socialiste – Formed by an alliance of the non-communist left
- Parti Communiste
- Europe Ecologie Les Verts – The green party who are particularly strong in local government and key positions in many city councils
- MoDem – Formed from UDF, of which the Nouveau Centre used to belong
- Alliance Centriste – Centre-right party which is part of the UDI
- Les Republicains – One of the largest parties, who appeal to a broad range of political opinion
- UDI – Formed from an alliance of the Radical Party and the Nouveau Centre
- Front National – The FN is a classic extreme right wing party. FN is led by Marine le Pen
- Mouvement pour la France – MPF is a moderate right-wing party of a sovereignist viewpoint
Prime Ministers from 1947
- 1947-1954 – Vincent Auriol (French Section of the Workers’ International)
- 1954-1959 – Rene Coty (National Centre of Independents and Peasants)
- 1959-1969 – Charles de Gaulle (Union for the New Republic)
- 1969-1974 – Alain Poher (Union of Democrats for the Republic)
- 1974-1981 – Valery Giscard d’Estaing (Independent Republicans and Republican Party)
- 1981-1995 – Francois Mitterrand (Socialist Party)
- 1995-2007 – Jacques Chirac (Rally for the Republic and Union for a Popular Movement)
- 2007-2012 – Nicolas Sarkozy (Union for a Popular Movement)
- 2012-Current – Francois Hollande (Socialist Party)