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Living France - - The Essentials -

France has a semi-pres­i­den­tial sys­tem, with the pub­lic vot­ing in the pres­i­dent for a term of five years and, shortly after­wards, vot­ing in con­stituency rep­re­sen­ta­tives or députés (i.e MPs) to the Assem­blée Na­tionale through the leg­isla­tive elec­tions.

Like the House of Com­mons, the Na­tional As­sem­bly votes on leg­is­la­tion and is there­fore a con­trol on the ac­tions of the pres­i­dent and the prime min­is­ter, although the pres­i­dent has the power to dis­solve the Na­tional As­sem­bly at any time.

The French gov­ern­ment com­prises the pres­i­dent, the prime min­is­ter, the Con­sti­tu­tional Coun­cil (made up of for­mer French pres­i­dents and nine elected mem­bers who stand for nine years) and the Coun­cil of Min­is­ters.

• Par­lia­ment, on the other hand, in­cludes the Na­tional As­sem­bly in the lower house and the Se­nate in the up­per house (equiv­a­lent to the House of Lords). The 577 mem­bers of the Na­tional As­sem­bly are di­rectly voted in by the French peo­ple on a one-seat-per­con­stituency ba­sis for the five-year term (289 seats are re­quired for a ma­jor­ity), while the 346 mem­bers of the Se­nate are voted in for a six-year pe­riod by the 150,000-plus lo­cal elected of­fi­cials through­out France.

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