Presidential elections in France determine who will serve as the President of France for the next several years.
There was one presidential election in France during the government known as the Second Republic (1848--1851). It was held in 1848. The president was elected by direct popular vote.
There were 15 presidential elections in France during the government known as the Third Republic (1870--1940).
There were two presidential elections in France during the republican government known as the Fourth Republic (1946--1958). They were held in 1947 and 1953.
There have been 11 presidential elections in France since the establishment of the Fifth Republic in 1958.
Originally the president was elected by an electoral college comprising the members of Parliament, the general councils and the assemblies of the Overseas Territories, as well as the elected representatives of the municipal councils. This electoral college included around 80,000 county and city/town councillors (who had been elected locally).
Following constitutional reform in November 1962 (the constitutional Act of 6 November), pushed by President de Gaulle, the president has been directly elected by the people of France in a two-round election.
Until a 24 September 2000 constitutional referendum, the president had been elected for a seven-year term since 1958. With the referendum being successful, the term was reduced to five years. Therefore once the winner of the 2002 election, Jacques Chirac, took office as president, the next election was scheduled for 2007 rather than 2009.
Currently, the President of the French Republic is elected to a five-year term in a two-round election under Article 7 of the Constitution: if no candidate secures an absolute majority (including blank and void ballots) of votes in the first round, a second round is held two weeks later between the two candidates who received the most votes. Since 1965, when the current (direct) election system was introduced, every election has gone to a second round.
direct vote France since 1965.