the French president’s poker move that no one expected

the French presidents poker move that no one expected

Six dissolutions under the Fifth Republic

Presidential prerogative in the 1958 Constitution, the dissolution of the National Assembly, announced Sunday by Emmanuel Macron, is the sixth under the Fifth Republic and has only occurred eight times in more than a hundred years.

  • Under de Gaulle in 1962 and 1968

On October 9, 1962, General de Gaulle dissolved the Assembly following the adoption of a motion of censure at the initiative of the Socialists, the MRP and the Independents, opposed to a constitutional revision aimed at establishing the election of the President of the Republic by direct universal suffrage.

The Gaullists emerged strengthened from the elections of November 1962, which allowed the president to form a real majority around him.

On May 30, 1968, Charles de Gaulle once again dissolved the Assembly elected a year earlier at the end of the long social crisis – the “events” of May 68 – which shook the government. The June elections resulted in a right-wing tidal wave, with the Gaullists alone obtaining an absolute majority.

  • Under Mitterrand in 1981 and 1988

The day after his presidential inauguration, the socialist François Mitterrand dissolved, on May 22, 1981, the National Assembly elected in March 1978 where the right had an absolute majority. The Socialists obtained an absolute majority at the end of the June elections.

Re-elected in 1988, Mr. Mitterrand dissolved on May 14 the Assembly elected in March 1986, where the right held an absolute majority. The elections that followed this time only gave a relative majority to the Socialists.

  • Under Chirac in 1997

The dissolution was never done for the convenience of the president, but to resolve a political crisis », declared Jacques Chirac again in 1996.

But from March 1997, a few voices were raised on the right, in particular that of the Secretary General of the Élysée Dominique de Villepin, to demand legislative elections before the normal deadline of March 1998. The worsening of the economic situation, then wrongly predicted by many experts, is their main argument: we might as well organize elections before things get worse.

On April 21, the head of state announced that he was dissolving the Assembly, arguing that France needed “ right now » of a “ new momentum “. The left is launching the campaign around the new concept of “plural left”, bringing together PS, PCF, left radicals, Greens and Citizens’ Movement.

In the second round, in June it obtained a majority of 319 seats, paving the way for cohabitation until 2002, the longest in the Fifth Republic.