Constitutional Council (France)
The Constitutional Council is the highest constitutional authority in France. It was established by the Constitution of the Fifth Republic on 4 October 1958 and its duty is to ensure that constitutional principles and rules are upheld, it is housed in Paris. Its main activity is to rule on whether proposed statutes conform with the Constitution, after they have been voted by Parliament and before they are signed into law by the President of the French Republic. However, since 1 March 2010, individual citizens who are party to a trial or a lawsuit have been able to ask for the Council to review whether the law applied in the case is constitutional. In 1971, the Council ruled that conformity with the Constitution entails conformity with two other texts referred to in the preamble of the Constitution, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen and the preamble of the constitution of the Fourth Republic, both of which list constitutional rights; this article refers extensively to individual articles in the Constitution of France.
The reader should refer to the official translation of the Constitution on the site of the French National Assembly. Another recommended reading is the Constitutional Council overview on the Council web site; the Government of France consists of an executive branch, a legislative branch, a judicial branch. The judicial branch is, unlike for instance the federal judiciary of the United States under the Supreme Court, not organized into a single hierarchy, some of its entities have advisory functions. For historical reasons there has long been a hostility to having anything resembling a "Supreme Court"—that is, a powerful court able to quash legislation. Whether the Council is a court is a subject of academic discussion, but some scholars consider it the supreme court of France; the Constitution of the French Fifth Republic distinguishes two distinct kinds of legislation: statute law, voted upon by Parliament and government regulations, which are enacted by the Prime Minister and his government as decrees and other regulations.
Article 34 of the Constitution exhaustively lists the areas reserved for statute law: these include, for instance, criminal law. Any regulation issued by the executive in the areas constitutionally reserved for statute law is unconstitutional unless it has been authorized as secondary legislation by a statute. Any citizen with an interest in the case can obtain the cancellation of these regulations by the Council of State, on grounds that the executive has exceeded its authority. Furthermore, the Council of State can quash regulations on grounds that they violate existing statute law, constitutional rights or the "general principles of law". In addition, new acts can be referred to the Constitutional Council by a petition just prior to being signed into law by the President of the Republic; the most common circumstance for this is that 60 opposition members of the National Assembly, or 60 opposition members of the Senate request such a review. If the Prime Minister thinks that some clauses of existing statute law instead belong to the domain of regulations, he can ask the Council to reclassify these clauses as regulations.
Traditionally, France refused to accept the idea that courts could quash legislation enacted by Parliament. This goes back to the French revolutionary era: pre-revolutionary courts had used their power not to register laws and thus prevent their application for political purposes, had blocked reforms. French courts were prohibited from making rulings of a general nature, it seemed that if courts could quash legislation after it had been enacted and taken into account by citizens, it would introduce legal uncertainties: how could a citizen plan his or her actions according to what is legal or not if laws could a posteriori be found not to hold? Yet, in the late 20th century, courts administrative courts, began applying the consequences of international treaties, including law of the European Union, as superior to national law. A 2009 reform, effective on 1 March 2010, enables parties to a lawsuit or trial to question the constitutionality of the law, being applied to them; the procedure, known as question prioritaire de constitutionnalité, is broadly as follows: the question is raised before the trial judge and, if it has merit, it is forwarded to the appropriate supreme court.
The supreme court submits them to the Constitutional Council. If the Constitutional Council rules a law to be unconstitutional, this law is struck down from the law books; the Council has two main areas of power: The first is the supervision of elections, both presidential and parliamentary and ensuring the legitimacy of referendums. They issue the official results, they ensure proper conduct and fairness, they see that campaign spending limits are adhered to; the Council is the supreme authority in these matters. The Council can declare an election to be invalid if improperly conducted, or if the elected candidate used illegal methods, or if he spent for his campaign over the legal limits; the second area of Council power is the interpretation of the fundamental
France–Africa relations cover a period of several centuries, starting around in the Middle Ages, have been influential to both regions. Following the invasion of Spain by the Berber Commander Tariq ibn Ziyad in 711, during the 8th century Arab and Berber armies invaded Southern France, as far as Poitiers and the Rhône valley as far as Avignon, Autun, until the turning point of the Battle of Tours in 732. Cultural exchanges followed. In the 10th century, the French monk Gerbert d'Aurillac, who became the first French Pope Sylvester II in 999, traveled to Spain to learn about Islamic culture, may have studied at the University of Al-Qarawiyyin in Fez, Morocco. France would become again threatened by the proximity of the expanding Moroccan Almoravid Empire in the 11th and 12th centuries. According to some historians, French merchants from the Normandy cities of Dieppe and Rouen traded with the Gambia and Senegal coasts, with the Ivory Coast and the Gold Coast, between 1364 and 1413; as a result, an ivory-carving industry developed in Dieppe after 1364.
These travels however were soon forgotten with the advent of the Hundred Years War in France. In 1402, the French adventurer Jean de Béthencourt left La Rochelle and sailed along the coast of Morocco to conquer the Canary islands. France signed a first treaty or Capitulation with the Mamluk Sultanate in 1500, during the rules of Louis XII and Sultan Bajazet II, in which the Sultan of Egypt had made concessions to the French and the Catalans. Important contacts between Francis I of France and the Ottoman Emperor Suleiman the Magnificent were initiated in 1526, leading to a Franco-Ottoman alliance, which soon created close contacts with the Barbary States of Northern Africa, which were becoming vassals of the Ottoman Empire; the first Ottoman embassy to France was the Ottoman embassy to France led by Hayreddin Barbarossa head of the Barbary States in Algiers. Suleiman ordered Barbarossa to put his fleet at the disposition of Francis I to attack Genoa and the Milanese. In July 1533 Francis received Ottoman representatives at Le Puy, he would dispatch in return Antonio Rincon to Barbarossa in North Africa and to the Asia Minor.
Various military actions were coordinated during the Italian War of 1551–1559. In 1551, the Ottomans, accompanied by the French ambassador Gabriel de Luez d'Aramon, succeeded in the Siege of Tripoli. In 1533, Francis I sent as ambassador to Morocco, colonel Pierre de Piton, thus initiating official France-Morocco relations. In a letter to Francis I dated August 13, 1533, the Wattassid ruler of Fes, Ahmed ben Mohammed, welcomed French overtures and granted freedom of shipping and protection of French traders. France started to send ships to Morocco in 1555, under the rule of Henry II, son of Francis I. France established a Consul in Fez, Morocco, as early as 1577, in the person of Guillaume Bérard, was the first European country to do so, he was succeeded by Arnoult de Lisle and Étienne Hubert d'Orléans in the position of physician and representative of France at the side of the Sultan. These contacts with France occurred during the landmark rules of Abd al-Malik and his successor, Moulay Ahmad al-Mansur.
In order to continue the exploration efforts of his predecessor Henry IV, Louis XIII considered a colonial venture in Morocco, sent a fleet under Isaac de Razilly in 1619. Razilly was able to reconnoiter the coast as far as Mogador. In 1624, he was put in charge of an embassy to the pirate harbour of Salé in Morocco, in order to solve the affair of the library of Mulay Zidan. In 1630, Razilly was able to negotiate the purchase of French slaves from the Moroccans, he visited Marocco again in 1631, participated to the negotiation of the Franco-Moroccan Treaty. The Treaty give France preferential treatment, known as Capitulations: preferential tariffs, the establishment of a Consulate and freedom of religion for French subjects. In 1659, France established the trading post of Senegal; the European powers continued contending for the island of Gorée, until in 1677, France led by Jean II d'Estrées during the Franco-Dutch War ended up in possession of the island, which it would keep for the next 300 years.
In 1758 the French settlement was captured by a British expedition as part of the Seven Years' War, but was returned to France in 1783. The French conquest of Algeria took place from 1830 to 1847, resulting in the establishment of Algeria as a French colony. Algerian resistance forces were divided between forces under Ahmed Bey at Constantine in the east, nationalist forces in Kabylie and the west. Treaties with the nationalists under `Abd al-Qādir enabled the French to first focus on the elimination of the remaining Ottoman threat, achieved with the 1837 Capture of Constantine. Al-Qādir continued to give stiff resistance in the west. Driven into Morocco in 1842 by large-scale and heavy-handed French military action, he continued to wage a guerilla war until Morocco, under French diplomatic pressure following its defeat in the First Franco-Moroccan War, drove him out of Morocco, he surrendered to French forces in 1847. France again showed a strong interest in Morocco in the 1830s, as a possible extension of her sphere of influence in the Maghreb, after Algeria and Tunisia.
The First Franco-Moroccan War took place in 1844, as a consequence of Morocco's alliance with Algeria's Abd-El-Kader against France. Following several incident at the border between Algeria and Morocco, the refusal of Morocco to abandon its support to Algeria, France faced Morocco victoriously in the Bombardment of Tangiers, the Battle of Isly, the Bombardment of Mogador; the war was formally ended September 10 with the signing of the Treaty of Tangiers, in
A two-party system is a party system where two major political parties dominate the government. One of the two parties holds a majority in the legislature and is referred to as the majority or governing party while the other is the minority or opposition party. Around the world, the term has different senses. For example, in the United States and Malta, the sense of two-party system describes an arrangement in which all or nearly all elected officials belong to one of the only two major parties, third parties win any seats in the legislature. In such arrangements, two-party systems are thought to result from various factors like winner-takes-all election rules. In such systems, while chances for third-party candidates winning election to major national office are remote, it is possible for groups within the larger parties, or in opposition to one or both of them, to exert influence on the two major parties. In contrast, in the United Kingdom and Australia and in other parliamentary systems and elsewhere, the term two-party system is sometimes used to indicate an arrangement in which two major parties dominate elections but in which there are viable third parties which do win seats in the legislature, in which the two major parties exert proportionately greater influence than their percentage of votes would suggest.
Explanations for why a country with free elections may evolve into a two-party system have been debated. A leading theory, referred to as Duverger's law, states that two parties are a natural result of a winner-take-all voting system. In countries such as Britain, two major parties emerge which have strong influence and tend to elect most of the candidates, but a multitude of lesser parties exist with varying degrees of influence, sometimes these lesser parties are able to elect officials who participate in the legislature. In political systems based on the Westminster system, a particular style of parliamentary democracy based on the British model and found in many commonwealth countries, a majority party will form the government and the minority party will form the opposition, coalitions of lesser parties are possible. Sometimes these systems are described as two-party systems but they are referred to as multi-party systems. There is not always a sharp boundary between a multi-party system.
A two-party system becomes a dichotomous division of the political spectrum with an ostensibly right-wing and left-wing party: the Nationalist Party vs. the Labour Party in Malta, Liberal/National Coalition vs. Labor in Australia, Republicans vs. Democrats in the United States and the Conservative Party vs. the Labour Party in the United Kingdom. Other parties in these countries may have seen candidates elected to local or subnational office, however. Historian John Hicks claims that the United States has never possessed for any considerable period of time the two party system in its pure and undefiled form. In some governments, certain chambers may resemble a two-party system and others a multi-party system. For example, the politics of Australia are two-party for the Australian House of Representatives, elected by instant-runoff voting, known within Australia as preferential voting. However, third parties are more common in the Australian Senate, which uses a proportional voting system more amenable to minor parties.
In the politics of Canada, while having a multiparty system federally and in the largest provinces of British Columbia, Quebec, Manitoba as well as the smaller New Brunswick, Newfoundland And Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Yukon Territory many of the provinces have become two-party systems in which only two parties get members elected. Examples include British Columbia, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island; the English speaking countries of the Caribbean while inheriting their basic political system from Great Britain have become two party systems. The politics of Jamaica are between the People's National Party and the Jamaica Labour Party; the politics of Guyana are between the People's Progressive Party and APNU, a coalition of smaller parties. The politics of Trinidad and Tobago are between the People's National Movement and the People's Partnership, a coalition; the Politics of Belize are between the People's United Party. The Politics of the Bahamas are between the Progressive Liberal Party and the Free National Movement.
The politics of Barbados are between the Barbados Labour Party. The politics of Zimbabwe are a two party system between the Robert Mugabe founded Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and the opposition coalition Movement for Democratic Change. India has a multi-party system but shows characteristics of a two party system with the United Progressive Alliance and National Democratic Alliance as the two main players, it is to be noted that both UPA and NDA are not two political parties but alliances of several smaller parties. Other smaller parties not aligned with either NDA or UPA exist, overall command about 20% of the 2009 seats in the
Second Philippe government
The second Philippe government is the forty-first government of the Fifth Republic of France. It is the second government formed by Édouard Philippe under President Emmanuel Macron, following the 2017 legislative elections and the dissolution of the first Philippe government on 19 June 2017; the second Philippe government was formed following scandal among ministers during the first Philippe government. La République En Marche! allies Democratic Movement were facing scandal following allegations that the party used EU funds to pay party workers. Defense minister Sylvie Goulard was the first to step down, resigning on 20 June, 2017; the following day, Minister of Justice Francois Bayrou and European Affairs minister, Marielle de Sarnez stepped down. Richard Ferrand, Minister of Territorial Cohesion, stepped down on 19 June 2017 following Le Canard Enchaîné publishing allegations of nepotism on 24 May 2017. Macron defended Ferrand despite the allegations and public polling showing that 70% of respondents wanted Ferrand to step down.
On 1 July 2017, a regional prosecutor announced that authorities had launched a preliminary investigation into Ferrand. Ferrand responded to the allegations saying everything was "legal and transparent". Ferrand was one of the founding members of La République En Marche and is serving as general secretary for the party. On 31 July 2018 government survived two motions of no confidence following the Benalla affair: the first one obtained 103 ayes, while the second obtained 63 votes. Both motions did not reach the quorum of 289 votes required in the National Assembly. Following the yellow vests movement a motion of no confidence was initiated by the Socialist Party, the French Communist Party and La France Insoumise on 13 December 2018 but the government survived the motion as there were 70 votes in favour, falling short of the required number of 289. Deputy Ministers Secretaries of State On 24 November 2017, Christophe Castaner was replaced as Government Spokesman by Benjamin Griveaux, replaced as Secretary of State to the Minister of Economy and Finance by Delphine Gény-Stephann, while Socialist Olivier Dussopt was appointed as Secretary of State to the Minister of Public Action and Accounts.
On 28 August 2018, Nicolas Hulot announced his resignation from the government during a live radio interview on France Inter. On 4 September, Laura Flessel announced her resignation from the government, with their respective replacements announced as Francois de Rugy and Roxana Mărăcineanu. On 1 October 2018, the Minister of the Interior Gérard Collomb brings his resignation to Presisent Marcon, who refuses it, he renews his intention a few days and Emmanuel Macron accepts the resignation. President Macron asks Prime Minister Édouard Philippe to act as interim. On 16 October 2018, Christophe Castaner is appointed Minister of the Interior, which puts an end to Édouard Philippe's tenure. Marc Fesneau replaces Christophe Castaner at Relations with Parliament. Franck Riester is appointed Minister of Culture to replace Françoise Nyssen. Didier Guillaume is appointed Minister of Food in replacement of Stéphane Travert. Jacqueline Gourault is appointed Minister of Territorial Cohesion to replace Jacques Mézard and her portfolio is extended to Relations with local authorities.
Delphine Gény-Stephann is not renewed. Are appointed Secretary of State Gabriel Attal to the National Education, Laurent Nuñez in the Interior, Christelle Dubos to Solidarity and Health, Agnès Pannier-Runacher to the Economy and Emmanuelle Wargon to Ecology. In addition, several members of the government have their powers expanded. On 25 January 2019, Adrien Taquet is appointed Secretary of State for the Protection of Childhood to the Minister of Health, Agnès Buzyn. On 27 March 2019, in view of the 2019 European elections and 2020 municipal election in Paris, Nathalie Loiseau, Benjamin Griveaux, as well as Mounir Mahjoubi leave their government responsabilities, with Le Drian temporarily assuming responsibility for Loiseau's ministerial portfolio. On 31 March 2019, Amélie de Montchalin is appointed Secretary of State for European Affairs, succeeding Nathalie Loiseau. Sibeth Ndiaye is appointed succeeding Benjamin Griveaux. Cédric O is appointed State Secretary for the Digital Economy. Official announcement
Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Macron is a French politician serving as President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra since 2017. He was Minister of the Economy and Digital Affairs from 2014 to 2016. Macron was born in Amiens and studied philosophy at Paris Nanterre University, completed a Master's of Public Affairs at Sciences Po and graduated from the École nationale d'administration in 2004, he worked as a senior civil servant at the Inspectorate General of Finances and became an investment banker at Rothschild & Cie Banque. Macron was appointed Deputy Secretary General to the President by François Hollande in May 2012, he was appointed Minister of Economy and Digital Affairs in August 2014 under the Second Valls government, where he pushed through business-friendly reforms. He resigned in August 2016 to launch a bid in the 2017 presidential election. After being a member of the Socialist Party from 2006 to 2009, Macron ran in the election under the banner of a centrist political movement he founded in April 2016, En Marche!.
He won the election on 7 May 2017 with 66.1% of the vote in the second round. At age 39, Macron became the youngest President of France in history and appointed Édouard Philippe to be Prime Minister. In the June 2017 legislative elections, Macron's party, renamed "La République en marche", together with its ally the Democratic Movement, secured a majority in the National Assembly. Born in Amiens, Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Macron is the son of Françoise, a physician, Jean-Michel Macron, professor of neurology at the University of Picardy; the couple were divorced in 2010. Macron has two siblings, born in 1979 and Estelle, born in 1982. Françoise and Jean-Michel's first child was born stillborn. Raised in a non-religious family, he was baptized a Roman Catholic at his own request at age 12, although he is agnostic today; the Macron family legacy is traced back to the village of Authie in Hauts-de-France. One of Macron's paternal great-grandfathers, George William Robertson, was English, was born in Bristol, United Kingdom.
His maternal grandparents and Germaine Noguès, are from the Pyrenean town of Bagnères-de-Bigorre, Gascony. Macron visited Bagnères-de-Bigorre to visit his grandmother Germaine, whom he called "Manette". Macron associates his enjoyment of reading and his left-ward political leanings to Germaine, after coming from a modest upbringing of a stationmaster father and a housekeeping mother, became a teacher a principal, died in 2013. Macron was educated at the Jesuit Lycée la Providence in Amiens before his parents sent him to finish his last year of school at the elite Lycée Henri-IV in Paris, where he completed the high school curriculum and the undergraduate program with a "Bac S, Mention Très bien". At the same time he was nominated for the "Concours Général" in French literature and received his diploma for his piano studies at Amiens Conservatory, his parents sent him off to Paris due to their alarm at the bond he had formed with Brigitte Auzière, a married teacher with three children at Jésuites de la Providence, who became his wife.
In Paris, he failed to gain entry to the École normale supérieure twice. He instead studied Philosophy at the University of Paris-Ouest Nanterre La Défense, obtaining a DEA degree. Around 1999 Macron worked as an editorial assistant to Paul Ricoeur, the French Protestant philosopher, writing his last major work, La Mémoire, l'Histoire, l'Oubli. Macron worked on the notes and bibliography. Macron became a member of the editorial board of the literary magazine Esprit. Macron did not perform national service. Born in December 1977, he belonged to the last year. Macron obtained a master's degree in public affairs at the Sciences Po, majoring in "Public Guidance and Economy" before training for a senior civil service career at the selective École nationale d'administration, training at an embassy in Nigeria and in an office in Oise before graduating in 2004. After graduating from ENA in 2004, Macron became an Inspector in the Inspection générale des finances, a branch of the Finance Ministry. Macron was mentored by Jean-Pierre Jouyet, the then-head of the IGF.
During his time as an Inspector of Finances, Macron gave lectures during the summer at the "prep'ENA" at IPESUP, an elite private school specializing in preparation for the entrance examinations of the Grandes écoles, such as HEC or Sciences Po. In 2006, Laurence Parisot offered him the job of managing director for Mouvement des Entreprises de France, the largest employer federation in France, but he declined. In August 2007, Macron was appointed deputy rapporteur for Jacques Attali's "Commission to Unleash French Growth". In 2008, Macron paid €50,000 to buy himself out of his government contract, he became an investment banker in a highly-paid position at Rothschild & Cie Banque. In March 2010, he was appointed to the Attali Commission as a member. In September 2008, Macron left his job as an Inspector of Finances and took a position at Rothschild & Cie Banque. Macron was inspired to leave the government due to the election of Nicolas Sarkozy to the presidency, he was offered the job by François Henrot.
His first responsibility at Rothschild & Cie Banque was assisting with the acquisition of Cofidis by Crédit Mutuel Nord Europe. Macron formed a relationship with a businessman on the supervisory board of Le Monde. In 2010, Macron
Departments of France
In the administrative divisions of France, the department is one of the three levels of government below the national level, between the administrative regions and the commune. Ninety-six departments are in metropolitan France, five are overseas departments, which are classified as regions. Departments are further subdivided into 334 arrondissements, themselves divided into cantons; each department is administered by an elected body called a departmental council. From 1800 to April 2015, these were called general councils; each council has a president. Their main areas of responsibility include the management of a number of social and welfare allowances, of junior high school buildings and technical staff, local roads and school and rural buses, a contribution to municipal infrastructures. Local services of the state administration are traditionally organised at departmental level, where the prefect represents the government; the departments were created in 1790 as a rational replacement of Ancien Régime provinces with a view to strengthen national unity.
All of them were named after physical geographical features, rather than after historical or cultural territories which could have their own loyalties. The division of France into departments was a project identified with the French revolutionary leader the Abbé Sieyès, although it had been discussed and written about by many politicians and thinkers; the earliest known suggestion of it is from 1764 in the writings of d'Argenson. They have inspired similar divisions in some of them former French colonies. Most French departments are assigned a two-digit number, the "Official Geographical Code", allocated by the Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques. Overseas departments have a three-digit number; the number is used, for example, in the postal code, was until used for all vehicle registration plates. While residents use the numbers to refer to their own department or a neighbouring one, more distant departments are referred to by their names, as few people know the numbers of all the departments.
For example, inhabitants of Loiret might refer to their department as "the 45". In 2014, President François Hollande proposed to abolish departmental councils by 2020, which would have maintained the departments as administrative divisions, to transfer their powers to other levels of governance; this reform project has since been abandoned. The first French territorial departments were proposed in 1665 by Marc-René d'Argenson to serve as administrative areas purely for the Ponts et Chaussées infrastructure administration. Before the French Revolution, France gained territory through the annexation of a mosaic of independent entities. By the close of the Ancien Régime, it was organised into provinces. During the period of the Revolution, these were dissolved in order to weaken old loyalties; the modern departments, as all-purpose units of the government, were created on 4 March 1790 by the National Constituent Assembly to replace the provinces with what the Assembly deemed a more rational structure.
Their boundaries served two purposes: Boundaries were chosen to break up France's historical regions in an attempt to erase cultural differences and build a more homogeneous nation. Boundaries were set so that every settlement in the country was within a day's ride of the capital of a department; this was a security measure, intended to keep the entire national territory under close control. This measure was directly inspired by the Great Terror, during which the government had lost control of many rural areas far from any centre of government; the old nomenclature was avoided in naming the new departments. Most were named after other physical features. Paris was in the department of Seine. Savoy became the department of Mont-Blanc; the number of departments 83, had been increased to 130 by 1809 with the territorial gains of the Republic and of the First French Empire. Following Napoleon's defeats in 1814–1815, the Congress of Vienna returned France to its pre-war size and the number of departments was reduced to 86.
In 1860, France acquired the County of Nice and Savoy, which led to the creation of three new departments. Two were added from the new Savoyard territory, while the department of Alpes-Maritimes was created from Nice and a portion of the Var department; the 89 departments were given numbers based on the alphabetical order of their names. The department of Bas-Rhin and parts of Meurthe, Moselle and Haut-Rhin were ceded to the German Empire in 1871, following France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. A small part of Haut-Rhin became known as the Territoire de Belfort; when France regained the ceded departments after World War I, the Territoire de Belfort was not re-integrated into Haut-Rhin. In 1922, it became France's 90th department; the Lorraine departments were not changed back to their original boundaries, a new Moselle department was created in the regaine
Prime Minister of France
The French Prime Minister in the Fifth Republic is the head of government. During the Third and Fourth Republics, the head of government position was called President of the Council of Ministers shortened to President of the Council; the Prime Minister proposes a list of ministers to the President of the Republic. Decrees and decisions of the Prime Minister, like all executive decisions, are subject to the oversight of the administrative court system. Few decrees are taken after advice from the Council of State. All prime ministers defend the programs of their ministry, 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. However, he resigned on 6 December 2016, to stand in the French Socialist Party presidential primary, 2017 and Bernard Cazeneuve was appointed as Prime Minister that day by President François Hollande.
Cazeneuve resigned on 10 May 2017. Édouard Philippe was named his successor on 15 May 2017. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President of the Republic, who can select whomever he or she wants. While prime ministers are 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 having held an elected office. On the other hand, while the Prime Minister does not have to ask for vote of confidence after cabinet's formation and they can depend their legitimacy on the President's assignment as Prime Minister and approval of the cabinet, because the National Assembly does have the power to force the resignation of the cabinet by motion of no confidence, 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 had to appoint Jacques Chirac Prime Minister although Chirac was a member of the RPR and therefore 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; such a situation, where the President is forced to work with a Prime Minister, an opponent, is called a cohabitation. Édith Cresson is the only woman to have held the position of Prime Minister. Aristide Briand holds the record for number of cabinet formations as Prime Minister with 11 times, he served between 1929 with some terms as short as 26 days. According to article 21 of the Constitution, the Prime Minister "shall direct the actions of the Government". Additionally, Article 20 stipulates that the Government "shall determine and conduct the policy of the Nation", it includes domestic issues, while the President concentrates on formulating directions on national defense and foreign policy while arbitrating the efficient service of all governmental authorities in France. 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 his or her Government before the National Assembly; this process consists of placing a bill before the Assembly, either the Assembly overthrows the Government, or the bill is passed automatically. 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 submit a bill that has not been yet signed into law to the Constitutional Council. Before he is allowed to dissolve the Assembly, the President has to consult the Prime Minister and the presidents of both Houses of Parliament; the office of the prime minister, in its current form, was created in 1958 under the French Fifth Republic.
Under the Third Republic, the French Constitutional Laws of 1875 imbued the position of President of the Council with similar formal powers to those which at that time the British Prime Minister possessed. In practice, this proved insufficient to command the confidence of France's multi-party parliament, the president of the Council was a weak figure, his strength more dependent on charisma than formal powers, 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 toppled twice a year, there were long stretches where France was left with only a caretaker government. After several unsuccessful attempts to strengthen the role in the first half of the twentieth century, a presidential system was introduced under the Fifth Republic; the 1958 Constitution includes several provisions intended to strengthen the prime minister's position, for instance by restricting the legislature's power to vote censure.
The current prime minister is Édouard Philippe, appointed on 15 May 2017. The only person to serve as Prime Minister more than once under the Fifth Republic was Jacques Chirac (1974–1