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This article is about the post-Revolutionary and present-day institution. For the Ancien Régime institution, see Parlement.
Parliament of France
Congrès du Parlement français
Type bicameral
Houses French Senate
French National Assembly
Meeting place
Château de Versailles

The French Parliament (French: Parlement français) or Parliament of France is the deliberative and legislative branch (parliament) of the Government of France. The current parliamentary system in France is bicameral, and the Parliament is composed of:


Organization and powers


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Each house conducts legislative sessions at a separate location:

Each house has its own regulations and rules of procedure.

However, they may occasionally meet as a single house, the French Congress (Congrès du Parlement français), convened at the Château de Versailles, to revise and amend the Constitution of France.

Parliament meets for one 9-month session each year: under special circumstances the president can call an additional session. Although parliamentary powers have diminished from those existing under the Fifth Republic, the National Assembly can still cause a government to fall if an absolute majority of the total Assembly membership votes a censorship motion. As a result, the Administration (Prime Minister and ministers) must be from the same political party as the Assembly and should be supported by a majority there. Periods during which the President of France is not from the same political party as the Prime Minister are known as cohabitation.

The cabinet has a strong influence in shaping the agenda of Parliament. The government also can link its term to a legislative text which it proposes, and unless a motion of censure is introduced (within 24 hours after the proposal) and passed (within 48 hours of introduction - thus full procedures last at most 72 hours), the text is considered adopted without a vote.

Members of Parliament enjoy parliamentary immunity. Both assemblies have committees that write reports on a variety of topics. If necessary, they can establish parliamentary enquiry commissions with broad investigative power.


The French Parliament, as a legislative body, should not confused with the various parlements of the Ancien Régime in France, which were courts of justice and tribunals with certain political functions.

The Parliament, in the modern meaning of the term, appeared in France during the French Revolution. Its form – unicameral, bicameral, or multicameral – and its functions have taken different forms throughout the different political regimes and according to the various French constitutions:

Date Constitution Upper chamber Lower chamber Other chamber Reunion of chambers Single chamber
1791 French Constitution of 1791 Assemblée Nationale
1793 French Constitution of 1793 Corps législatif
1795-1799 French Constitution of 1795 Conseil des Anciens Conseil des Cinq-Cents
1799-1802 Constitution of the Year VIII Sénat Corps législatif Tribunat
1802-1804 Constitution of the Year X Sénat Corps législatif Tribunat
1804-1814 Constitution of the Year XII Sénat Corps législatif
1814-1815 Charter of 1814 Chambre des pairs Chambre des députés des départements
1815 Additional Act to the Constitutions of the Empire Chambre des pairs Chambre des représentants
1830-1848 Charter of 1830 Chambre des pairs Chambre des députés
1848-1852 French Constitution of 1848 Assemblée Nationale
1852-1870 French Constitution of 1852 Sénat Corps législatif
1871-1875 Assemblée Nationale
1875-1940 French Constitutional Laws of 1875 Sénat Chambre des députés Assemblée Nationale
1940-1944 French Constitutional Law of 1940
1944-1946 Provisional Government of the French Republic Assemblée Nationale
1946-1958 French Constitution of 1946 Conseil de la République Assemblée Nationale Parliament
since 1958 French Constitution of 1958 Sénat Assemblée Nationale Parlement réunis en Congrès


This article is based on the article Parlement français from the French Wikipedia, retrieved on October 13, 2006.

Further reading

  • Frank R. Baumgartnerm Parliament's Capacity to Expand Political Controversy in France, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Vol. 12, No. 1 (Feb., 1987), pp. 33-54

See also

External links


Redirecting to Parliament of France


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