World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Prime Minister of France

Article Id: WHEBN0000218751
Reproduction Date:

Title: Prime Minister of France  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: President of France, Aristide Briand, Charles de Freycinet, Pierre Laval, Camille Chautemps
Collection: Prime Ministers of France
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Prime Minister of France

French Prime Minister
Premier ministre français
Manuel Valls

since 31 March 2014
Style Excellency
Member of Cabinet
Council of State
Reports to President of the Republic
and to Parliament
Residence Hôtel Matignon
Seat Paris, France
Appointer President of the Republic
Term length No fixed term
Remains in office while commanding the confidence of the National Assembly and the President of the Republic
Constituting instrument Constitution of 4 October 1958
Precursor Several incarnations since the Ancien Régime
Formation 1958
First holder Michel Debré
Salary 14,910 euros/month
Website .fr.gouvernementwww
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
France portal

The French Prime Minister (French: Premier ministre français) in the Fifth Republic is the head of government and of the Council of Ministers of France.[1] During the Third and Fourth Republics, the head of government position was called President of the Council of Ministers (French: Président du Conseil des Ministres), generally shortened to President of the Council (French: Président du Conseil).

The Prime Minister proposes a list of ministers to the President of the Republic. Decrees and decisions of the Prime Minister, like almost all executive decisions, are subject to the oversight of the administrative court system. Few decrees are taken after advice from the Council of State (French: Conseil d'État). All prime ministers defend the programs of their ministry, and make budgetary choices. The extent to which those decisions lie with the Prime Minister or President depends upon whether they are of the same party.

Manuel Valls was appointed to lead the government in a cabinet reshuffle in March 2014, after the ruling Socialists suffered a bruising defeat in local elections.


  • Nomination 1
  • Role 2
  • History 3
  • Present 4
  • Fifth Republic Records 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


The Prime Minister is appointed by the President of the Republic. The President can choose whomever he wants. While prime ministers are usually chosen from amongst the ranks of the National Assembly, on rare occasions the President has selected a non-officeholder because of their experience in bureaucracy or foreign service, or their success in business management — Dominique de Villepin, for example, served as Prime Minister from 2005 to 2007 without ever having held an elected office.

On the other hand, because the National Assembly does have the power to force the resignation of the government, the choice of prime minister must reflect the will of the majority in the Assembly. For example, right after the legislative election of 1986, President François Mitterrand appointed Jacques Chirac prime minister. Chirac was a member of the RPR and a political opponent of Mitterrand. Despite the fact that Mitterrand's own Socialist Party was the largest party in the Assembly, it did not have an absolute majority. The RPR had an alliance with the UDF, which gave them a majority. Such a situation, where the President is forced to work with a prime minister who is an opponent, is called a cohabitation.

So far, Édith Cresson is the only woman to have ever held the position of prime minister.[2]


According to article 21 of the Constitution,[3] the Prime Minister "shall direct the actions of the Government"; in addition, article 20[3] stipulates that the Government "shall determine and conduct the policy of the Nation". Other members of Government are appointed by the President "on the recommendation of the Prime Minister". In practice the Prime Minister acts on the impulse of the President to whom he is a subordinate, except when there is a cohabitation in which case his responsibilities are akin to those of a prime minister in a parliamentary system.

The Prime Minister can "engage the responsibility" of its Government before the National Assembly. This process consists of placing a bill before the Assembly, and either the Assembly overthrows the Government, or the bill is passed automatically (article 49[3]). In addition to ensuring that the Government still has support in the House, some bills that might prove too controversial to pass through the normal Assembly rules, are able to be passed this way.

The Prime Minister may also submit a bill that has not been yet signed into law to the Constitutional Council (article 61[3]).

Before he is allowed to dissolve the Assembly, the President has to consult the Prime Minister and the presidents of both Houses of Parliament (article 12[3]).


Official reception at Hôtel Matignon.

The prime minister, in its current form, dates from the formation of the French Third Republic. Under the French Constitutional Laws of 1875, he was imbued with the same powers as his British counterpart. In practice, however, the prime minister was a fairly weak figure, serving as little more than the cabinet's "primus inter pares". Most notably, the legislature had the power to force the entire cabinet out of office by a vote of censure. As a result, cabinets were often toppled twice a year, and there were long stretches where France was left with only a caretaker government.

The 1958 Constitution includes several provisions intended to strengthen the prime minister's position. For instance, restrictions were placed on votes of censure.


The current Prime Minister, in office since March 2014, is Manuel Valls.

Fifth Republic Records

  • The only person to serve as Prime Minister more than once under the Fifth Republic was Jacques Chirac (1974-1976 and 1986-1988).
  • The youngest appointed Prime minister was Laurent Fabius, on 17 July 1984. He was 37 years old.
  • The oldest appointed Prime minister was Pierre Bérégovoy, on 2 April 1992. He was 66 years old.
  • The only woman who was appointed at the head of government is Edith Cresson, Prime minister from 1991 to 1992.
  • Two Prime ministers were mayor of Bordeaux, and in the same time, Jacques Chaban-Delmas (1969-1972) and Alain Juppé (1995-1997).
  • The longest-serving Prime minister was Georges Pompidou, 6 years, 2 months and 26 days, from 1962 to 1968.
  • The shortest-serving Prime minister was Edith Cresson, 10 months and 18 days, from 1991 to 1992.

See also


  1. ^ Constitutional Council - Constitution of 4 October 1958
  2. ^ Britannica Mobile - iPhone Edition
  3. ^ a b c d e Welcome to the english website of the French National Assembly - Assemblée nationale

External links

  • .fr.gouvernementwww
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.