10th and 17th June 2012
François Hollande of the Socialist Party became the new president of France on May 6th, 2012. He must now chose his cabinet, and create the 14th Assemblée Nationale of the Fifth Republic. The results of the up and coming ‘elections législatives’ are likely to play a major role in his choice.
Last held in June 2007, the dates for the next elections législatives were set at a cabinet meeting on May 2011, and will take place in two rounds on June 10th and June 17th.
French voters will return to the polling stations in a vote that will determine how much socialist support the President-elect will be able to count on to push through his political agenda.
Hollande defeated Mr. Sarkozy with 51.6% of the votes, not a landslide victory, so the outcome of the June election is hard to predict, as the national performance of each party in the presidential election is not necessarily a reliable indicator of the number of seats that party will gain in the National Assembly.
If, for example, the UMP and other conservative movements win a majority of constituencies in the June election, Mr. Hollande will be obliged to pick a prime minister from amongst them, rendering his political authority weak as other parties push for their own agenda.
Many supporters have made it clear that their goal in voting for Hollande was to prevent Mr. Sarkozy’s re-election rather than support the Socialist candidate.
Legislative elections are held to elect the 577 MPs (députés) by direct universal suffrage for a renewable five-year term of office, except in the event the National Assembly is dissolved. As in the UK, each is elected in his or her own constituency. Elections are held every five years, or following the dissolution of the National Assembly.
The National Assembly may not be dissolved in the year following the new elections. Since 1958, it has been dissolved five times: in 1962, 1968, 1981, 1988 and 1997.
Mr. Sarkozy has hinted that he will not lead the UMP party into the legislative elections when his presidential mandate comes to an end on May 15th.
To vote in the ‘elections legislatives’, you must be 18 or over and of French nationality