National Assembly (French Fourth Republic)
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National Assembly French Fourth Republic

National Assembly

Assemblée nationale
1st, 2nd and 3rd legislatures
of the Fourth French Republic
Founded28 November 1946 (1946-11-28)
Disbanded8 December 1958 (1958-12-08)
Preceded byConstituent Assembly
(Provisional Government)
Succeeded byNational Assembly
(Fifth Republic)
Vincent Auriol, SFIO
Édouard Herriot, PRRS
André Le Troquer, SFIO
(1954-1955; 1956-1958)
1956 - French National Assembly.svg
Political groups
Filled (594)[a]
  COM-RP (150)
  SFIO (94)
  UDSR-RDA (19)
  PRRS (58)
  RS (22)
  RGR-CR (14)
  MRP-IOM (83)
  UFF (52)
  Independent (7)

Vacant (32)

  Vacant (1)
  French Polynesia (1)
  French Algeria (30)[b]
Length of term
4 years
Party-list proportional representation
First election
10 November 1946 (1946-11-10)
Last election
2 January 1956 (1956-01-02)
Meeting place
Panorama de l'hémicyle de l'assemblée nationale.jpg
Salle des Séances
Palais Bourbon
Paris, French Republic

The National Assembly (French: Assemblée Nationale) was the lower house of the French parliament under the Fourth Republic, with the Council of the Republic being the upper house. It was established by the Constitution of 1946, dissolved by the Constitution of 1958 and replaced with a new chamber bearing the same name.

The institutional nature of the parliamentarian Fourth Republic has been described as a source of political instability by historians and jurists.[1][2] The proportional voting system of the 1946 legislative election led to a "tripartisme" dominated by the Communists, the Socialists and the Popular Republican Movement, that ended up with the step down of communist ministers from the government in 1947.[3]

The electoral law of 9 May 1951 introduced a voting system based on affiliations: it combined proportional representation with the possibility for the ballots to join forces in the counting and distribution of votes. This system was intended to give a stable majority to the government, as well as to reduce the influence of the Communist Party and the Rally of the French People in the parliament.[3]

By creating the French Union, the 1946 constitution allowed a rising number of black deputies from French West Africa, French Equatorial Africa and French West Indies to be elected in the Assembly: from only one Senegalese representative in the Third Republic, black deputies were 21 in 1946 and 30 in 1958, the year of the funding of the Fifth Republic.[4]


The Constitution of 1946, adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 29 September 1946 and approved by referendum on 13 October 1946,[5] led to the creation of a new bicameral parliament. The lower house, named Chamber of Deputies under the Third Republic, became the National Assembly.


Term Composition
I (1946 election)
II (1951 election)
III (1956 election)


  1. ^ Colliard, Jean-Claude (1 January 1978). Les régimes parlementaires contemporains (in French). Presses de Sciences Po. ISBN 9782724685923.
  2. ^ Lascombe, Michel (2005). Le droit constitutionnel de la Vème République (in French). L'Harmattan. p. 26. ISBN 9782747594141.
  3. ^ a b "L'instabilité politique - Histoire - Histoire de l'Assemblée nationale - Le Gouvernement provisoire et la Quatrième République (1944-1958) - Assemblée nationale". Retrieved 2019.
  4. ^ Guillemin, Philippe (1958). "Les élus d'Afrique noire à l'Assemblée nationale sous la Quatrième République". Revue française de science politique. 8 (4): 861-877. doi:10.3406/rfsp.1958.392489.
  5. ^ Foundation for Foreign Affairs (1947). A Constitution for the Fourth Republic. p. 75.


  1. ^ Last election of 2 January 1956.
  2. ^ Due to the Algerian War.

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