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French word of the Day: Quinquennat

French word of the Day: Quinquennat
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
You're likely to hear this a lot in France over the next eight months.

Why do I need to know quinquennat?

The term itself is timeless, but it’s likely to be trotted out a lot in France over the next few months.

What does it mean?

In its basic definition it means a five-year term or plan.

This can apply to anything that is laid out in advance to last five years, such as a business plan or a period of works, but the context you’re likely to hear it in at present is political, referring to the five-year term that French presidents serve before facing an election. 

France operates on a model of fixed terms for presidents and fixed election dates, similar to the American system but different to the British model where the Prime Minister calls an election. The mandate of current president Emmanuel Macron is now in its final year.

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Elections are scheduled for April 2022 so expect plenty of political commentary on the success or otherwise of Macron’s five years in office. (And not to say the French like to look on the gloomy side, but if you Google Macron quinquennat the first result that comes up is Macron quinquennat catastrophique).

Use it like this

Pour le quinquennat 2020-2025, notre stratégie est basée sur l’expansion – For the period 2020 to 2025, our strategy is based on expansion

La crise de la santé redessine la fin du quinquennat de Macron – The health crisis is redrawing the end of Macron’s five-year mandate

Le quinquennat entre en vigueur à l’occasion de l’élection présidentielle de 2002. Il se substitue ainsi au septennat et Jacques Chirac devient ainsi le premier président de la République à effectuer un quinquennat – The five-year term came into effect a the presidential election of 2002. It replaced the seven-year term and Jacques Chirac became the first president to serve a five-year term. 


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