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What happens next as France heads for snap elections?

Emma Pearson
Emma Pearson - [email protected]
What happens next as France heads for snap elections?
French election billboards will be used again for the snap parliamentary elections. Photo by JEFF PACHOUD / AFP

After President Emmanuel Macron's surprise announcement, we look at what happens next as France is set to hold new parliamentary elections.


Following on from a heavy defeat for his party in the European elections, French president Emmanuel Macron on Sunday night made an unscheduled TV appearance to announce he is calling snap parliamentary elections.

READ ALSO What do snap parliamentary elections mean for France, and for Macron?

Here's what happens next;

Sunday, June 9th - parliament dissolved. In his televised address at 9pm on Sunday, president Emmanuel Macron said that he will dissolve parliament. His office later clarified that the decree would be signed on Sunday night, marking the end of the current parliamentary session.

Ongoing debates, including the one on the proposed assisted dying bill, will be suspended until - at the very least - after the election.


Monday, June 10th - normally after a European election, the metal election billboards in place outside schools, leisure centres and mairies would start to be taken down. In this case, however, at least some of them will be left up - European candidates' posters will be cleared off to make space for parties to put up posters for their parliamentary candidates.

Although the official campaign period doesn't start for another week, it's likely that parties will launch their campaigns more or less straight away.

You can listen to John Lichfield discuss Macron's election gamble in the latest Talking France podcast.


For the left, the decision is whether to run under the banner of the NUPES left-wing alliance, which would mean members of the alliance - probably the hard-left La France Insoumise, the centre-left Parti Socialiste, the Greens and the Communist party - avoiding running candidates against each other. 

Negotiations will begin with TV channels to screen pre-election debates.

Friday, June 14th - deadline to party candidates to announce that they are standing. 

Monday, June 17th - start of the official campaign period. This means that official election posters can be put up and TV and radio stations must give strictly controlled allowances of time to each party.

Sunday, June 30th - round one of voting. In any constituency where a candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote that person is elected and no second round is held. If no-one gets 50 percent, a second round is held where all candidates who won more than 12.5 percent of the initial vote can compete.

Only French citizens can vote in legislative elections - new citizens should be automatically inscribed on the electoral roll, but if this is your first time voting or you have recently moved house, you can check that you are correctly registered here.

Wednesday, July 3rd - posters for candidates who have not made it through to the second round should be removed from the electoral boards outside polling stations.

Sunday, July 7th - round two of voting, in constituencies where a second round is necessary.

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Monday, July 8th - results. A provisional result is usually released at 8pm on polling day, which is generally very accurate. However the full and final results come in on Monday.

Later - a prime minister is appointed.

The role of prime minister is appointed by the president - if Macron's party has won, then he picks a political ally to head up his government in parliament. If the party has failed to gain an absolute majority, the next stage is trying to build a coalition, with the role of prime minister potentially affected by the groups in coalition - ie picking someone from the right of the party to please a right-wing coalition partner.

If another party has an absolute majority then a cohabitation may ensure, with the role of prime minister going to a member of a rival party.

Explained What is a French 'cohabitation'?


The process of appointing a prime minister can take several weeks, although the president remains in post and can take decisions on foreign policy or deal with emergencies.

2029 - next parliamentary elections? In France, both parliamentary and presidential elections are usually held on a fixed schedule. Although the president has the power to dissolve parliament mid-term, it is rare and has not happened since 1997.

This means that the MPs elected in July will have a mandate until 2029 - two years after the scheduled presidential election in 2027. Unless, that is, parliament is dissolved again in the meantime.



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