What is France's political structure?

  • The French flag under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris

    The French flag under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris

    © ATOUT FRANCE/Franck Charel

What is France's political structure? fr

The constitution of Oct. 4, 1958 provides the institutional basis for the Fifth Republic (France's current political system). The President functions as the head of the state and is elected for five years under universal suffrage. The current President is Nicolas Sarkozy, who was elected in 2007 to replace outgoing President Jacques Chirac. As the head of state, the President controls foreign policy and defense, and appoints a prime minister with the approval of the parliament.

 The Prime Minister functions as the head of government and is in charge of domestic policy. Sarkozy appointed the current Prime Minister, François Fillon, to office after his own election in 2007.

 The Parliament, made up of the Senate and the National Assembly, constitutes the legislative section of the government and is responsible for creating and voting on laws.

 France is a member of the European Union, whose European Parliament is seated in Strasbourg, capital of France's Alsace region.

 The French national anthem was composed in Strasbourg in 1792; the military song for the Army of the Rhine became the Marseillaise and was declared the national anthem on July 14,1795. France's motto is "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity."