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The dissolution of the French National Assembly

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On Sunday 9th June, President Macron announced the dissolution of the National Assembly: what does it mean?

The dissolution of the French National Assembly is a power granted to the President of the French Republic under Article 12 of the Constitution of the Fifth Republic. It allows the President to end the mandate of the deputies before its normal term and to call for new legislative elections. This decision is usually motivated by political reasons, such as a government crisis or institutional deadlock. The President may only exercise this power once a year, and in the event of dissolution, the re-elected deputies retain their mandate until the end of the following legislature.

The dissolution of the National Assembly has significant consequences for French politics. It allows for the renewal of the national representation and the establishment of a new majority for the government. However, it also carries risks for the President, as the legislative elections may result in a hostile parliamentary majority: we call it a "cohabitation". Since 1958, there have been five dissolutions of the National Assembly, with the last one taking place in 1997. In that instance, right-wing President Jacques Chirac's attempt to obtain a more favourable majority resulted in a left-wing majority and a five-year cohabitation with a left-wing Prime Minister.


Wishing to learn more about it? Read the article in Savoir(s), le quotidien de l'Université de Strasbourg