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1956 France 1962
French legislative election, 1958
All 576 seats to the French National Assembly
23 and 30 November 1958
Majority party Minority party Third party
De Gaulle-OWI.jpg Replace this image male.svg Pflimlin.jpg
Leader Charles de Gaulle none Pierre Pflimlin
Party UNR CNIP MRP
Leader's seat none none Bas-Rhin-8th
Last election 22 seats 95 seats 83 seats
Seats won 206 132 57
Seat change +184 +37 -26
Popular vote 3,603,958 (1st round)
5,249,746 (2nd round)
2,815,176 (1st round)
2,869,173 (2nd round)
1,858,380 (1st round)
1,370,246 (2nd round)
Percentage 17.60% (1st round)
28.20% (2nd round)
13.7% (1st round)
15.4% (2nd round)
9.10% (1st round)
7.4% (2nd round)

Incumbent PM
Charles de Gaulle
UNR

PM-elect
Michel Debré
UNR

France

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The French legislative elections took place on 23 and 30 November 1958 to elect the 1st National Assembly of the French Fifth Republic.

Since 1954, the French Fourth Republic had been mired in the Algerian War. In May 1958, Pierre Pflimlin, a Christian-Democrat, became Prime Minister. He was known to be in favour of a negotiated settlement with the Algerian nationalists. On 13 May riots broke out in Algiers, with the complicity of the army. A rebel government seized power in Algiers in order to defend "French Algeria". The next day, General Massu demanded the return to power of General Charles de Gaulle.

The rebellious generals took control of Corsica threatening to conduct an assault on Paris, involving paratroopers and armoured forces based at Rambouillet. In Paris, the political leaders were trying to find a compromise. On 1 June De Gaulle replaced Pflimlin to lead a government of national unity and nominated as Ministers of State (Vice-Prime Ministers) Pierre Pflimlin (Popular Republican Movement, MRP), Guy Mollet (French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO), Louis Jacquinot (National Center of Independents and Peasants, CNIP) and Félix Houphouet-Boigny. He obtained the right to develop a new Constitution. Only the Communists and some center-left politicians such as Pierre Mendès-France and François Mitterrand, opposed this "coup against the Republic".

On 28 September the new Constitution was approved by 79.2% of voters. The Fifth Republic was born. The Two-round system was re-established for the legislative elections. The Gaullists created the Union for the New Republic which became the largest parliamentary group. Their opponents were crushed. The division in the Left between the supporters and the opponents to the Fifth Republic explained, in due to this ballot system which encourages the alliances, the small number of left-wing MPs.

On 21 December de Gaulle was elected President of France by a electoral college. His Justice Minister Michel Debré became Prime Minister. The pro-Fifth Republic center-left parties (SFIO and Radical Party) left the majority.

Results (Metropolitan France)

e • d 
Parties and coalitions 1st round 2nd round Total seats
Votes % Votes %
Union for the New Republic (Union pour la nouvelle République) UNR 3,603,958 17.60 5,249,746 28.20 189
French Section of the Workers International (Section française de l'Internationale ouvrière) SFIO 3,167,354 15.50 2,574,606 13.80 40
National Center of Independents and Peasants (Centre national des indépendants et paysans) CNIP 2,815,176 13.70 2,869,173 15.40 132
Miscellaneous Right DVD 2,445,751 11.90 1,365,877 7.30 81
Popular Republican Movement (Mouvement républicain populaire) MRP 1,858,380 9.10 1,370,246 7.40 57
Radical Party (Parti radical) and allies Rad 1,700,070 8.30 1,059,301 5.60 35
Total "Pro-Fifth Republic Majority" 15,590,689 76.10 14,488,949 77.70 534
French Communist Party (Parti communiste français) PCF 3,882,204 18.90 3,833,418 20.60 10
Far-Right 669,518 3.30 172,361 0.90 -
Union of the Democratic Forces (Union des forces démocratiques) UFD 347,298 1.70 146,016 0.7 2
Total 20,341,908 100.00 18,640,774 100.00 546
Abstention: 22.90% (1st round), 29.30% (2nd round)
Popular vote
Communist Party
  
18.9%
UNR
  
17.6%
SFIO
  
15.5%
CNIP
  
13.7%
DVD
  
11.8%
MRP
  
9.1%
Radical
  
8.4%
Poujadists
  
3.3%
Others
  
1.7%
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1st National Assembly by Parliamentary Group

Group Members Caucusing Total
  UNR Group 199 7 206
  IPAS Group 107 10 117
  FAEAS (Algerian and African deputies) Group 66 0 66
  RPCD Group 49 15 64
  Socialist Group 43 4 47
  FANI Group 40 0 40
  Non-Inscrits 36 0 36
Total: 540 36 576

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