Prime Minister of France

Prime Minister of the
French Republic
Premier ministre de la République française
Armoiries république française.svg
Flag of France.svg
Elisabeth Borne November 2022 close-up.jpg
Élisabeth Borne
since 16 May 2022
Council of Ministers of the French Republic
Government of France
StyleMadam Prime Minister
Her Excellency
StatusHead of government
Member of
Reports toPresident
ResidenceHôtel Matignon
SeatParis, France
Term lengthNo term limit
Constituting instrumentConstitution of France
PrecursorSeveral titles were used since the Ancien Régime
Inaugural holderCharles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord
Formation9 July 1815; 207 years ago (1815-07-09)
Salary€178,920 annually

The prime minister of France (French: Premier ministre français), officially the prime minister of the French Republic, is the head of government of the French Republic and the leader of the Council of Ministers.

The prime minister is the holder of the second-highest office in France, after the president of France. The president, who appoints but cannot dismiss the prime minister, can ask for their resignation. The Government of France, including the prime minister, can be dismissed by the National Assembly. Upon appointment, the prime minister proposes a list of ministers to the president. Decrees and decisions signed by the prime minister, like almost all executive decisions, are subject to the oversight of the administrative court system. Some decrees are taken after advice from the Council of State (French: Conseil d'État), over which the prime minister is entitled to preside. Ministers defend the programmes of their ministries to the prime minister, who makes budgetary choices. The extent to which those decisions lie with the prime minister or president often depends upon whether they are of the same political party. If so, the president may serve as both the head of state and de facto head of government, while the prime minister serves as his deputy.

Jean Castex resigned as Prime Minister on 16 May 2022, and President Emmanuel Macron appointed Élisabeth Borne, Minister of Labour, Employment and Integration, as his successor the same day. Her government, the first led by a woman since Édith Cresson in 1992, was announced four days later on 20 May. Cresson and Borne are the only women to serve as Prime Minister.


The prime minister is appointed by the president of France, who is theoretically free to pick whomever they please for the post. In practice, because the National Assembly does have the power to force the resignation of the government by adopting a motion of censure, the choice of prime minister must reflect the will of the majority in the National Assembly. Notably, immediately after the legislative election of 1986, President François Mitterrand had to appoint Jacques Chirac as prime minister although Chirac was a member of the Rally for the Republic and therefore a political opponent of Mitterrand. While Mitterrand's Socialist Party was the largest party in the National Assembly, it did not have an absolute majority. The RPR had an alliance with the Union for French Democracy, which gave them a majority. Such a situation, in which the president is forced to work with a prime minister who is a political opponent, is called a cohabitation.

While prime ministers are usually chosen from amongst the ranks of the National Assembly, on rare occasions the president has selected a non-officeholder because of their experience in bureaucracy or foreign service, or their success in business management—Dominique de Villepin, most notably, served as prime minister from 2005 to 2007 without ever having held elected office.

Although the president's choice of prime minister must be in accordance with the majority in the National Assembly, a prime minister does not have to ask for a vote of confidence after their government's formation. They can base their legitimacy on the president's assignment as prime minister and approval of the government. However, it is traditionally expected that the government seeks a motion of confidence upon entering office.


According to article 21 of the Constitution, the prime minister "shall direct the actions of the Government". Additionally, Article 20 stipulates that the government "shall determine and conduct the policy of the Nation", and it includes domestic issues, while the president concentrates on formulating directions on national defense and foreign policy while arbitrating the efficient service of all governmental authorities in France. Other members of the government are appointed by the president "on the recommendation of the prime minister". In practice the prime minister acts in harmony with the president to whom he is a subordinate, except when there is a cohabitation. In such cases, a constitutional convention gives the prime minister primacy in domestic affairs, while the president oversees foreign affairs. His responsibilities, then, are akin to those of a prime minister in a parliamentary system.

The prime minister can "engage the responsibility" of their government before the National Assembly. This process consists of placing a bill before the assembly, and either the assembly overthrows the government, or the bill is passed automatically (article 49). In addition to ensuring that the government still has support in the house, some bills that might prove too controversial to pass through the normal assembly rules are able to be passed this way.

The prime minister may also submit a bill that has not been yet signed into law to the Constitutional Council (article 61). Before they are allowed to dissolve the assembly, the president has to consult the prime minister and the presidents of both houses of Parliament (article 12). They are, as the representative of the government, the only member of the government able to introduce legislation in Parliament.

Offices of state

The Prime Minister is responsible for the following offices of state.

Liste des services du Premier ministre
Service type
Délégation interministérielle à l'hébergement et à l'accès au logement Affaires sociales
Haut Conseil de la famille, de l'enfance et de l'âge Affaires sociales
Haut Conseil à la vie associative Affaires sociales
Délégué interministériel à la mixité sociale dans l'habitat Affaires sociales
Conseil national de l'Insertion par l'activité économique Affaires sociales
Haut comité pour le logement des personnes défavorisées Affaires sociales
Conseil national des politiques de lutte contre la pauvreté et l'exclusion sociale Affaires sociales
Commission d'accès aux documents administratifs Autorité administrative indépendante
Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés Autorité administrative indépendante
Défenseur des droits Autorité administrative indépendante
Comité consultatif national d'éthique pour les sciences de la vie et de la santé Droits et libertés
Haute Autorité pour la transparence de la vie publique Autorité administrative indépendante
Autorité de régulation de la communication audiovisuelle et numérique (Arcom) Autorité administrative indépendante
Commission nationale consultative des droits de l'homme Droits et libertés
Contrôleur général des lieux de privation de liberté Autorité administrative indépendante
Secrétariat général du gouvernement (SGG) Coordination du travail gouvernemental
Secrétariat général de la mer Coordination du travail gouvernemental
Secrétariat général à la Planification écologique Coordination du travail gouvernemental
Cabinet du Premier ministre
Cabinet militaire du Premier ministre, Centre de transmissions gouvernemental - Antenne de Matignon, Commandement militaire de l'Hôtel Matignon
Coordination du travail gouvernemental
Commission pour l'indemnisation des victimes de spoliations intervenues du fait des législations antisémites en vigueur pendant l'Occupation (CIVS) Coordination du travail gouvernemental
Comité d'indemnisation des victimes des essais nucléaires Coordination du travail gouvernemental
Conseil national consultatif des personnes handicapées Coordination du travail gouvernemental
Service d'information du gouvernement (SIG) Coordination du travail gouvernemental
Délégué et comité interministériel aux archives de France Coordination du travail gouvernemental
Mission interministérielle de lutte contre les drogues et les conduites addictives Coordination du travail gouvernemental
Comité interministériel du handicap Coordination du travail gouvernemental
Commission supérieure de codification Coordination du travail gouvernemental
Mission cadres dirigeants Coordination du travail gouvernemental
Comité interministériel de l'aide aux victimes et secrétariat général à l'aide aux victimes Coordination du travail gouvernemental
Délégation interministérielle à la Méditerranée Coordination territoriale
Mission interministérielle de vigilance et de lutte contre les dérives sectaires Droits et libertés
Délégation interministérielle pour l'égalité des chances des Français d'outre-mer Droits et libertés
Commission nationale d'orientation et d'intégration Droits et libertés
Haut Conseil à l'égalité entre les femmes et les hommes Droits et libertés
Délégation interministérielle à la lutte contre le racisme, l'antisémitisme et la haine anti-LGBT Droits et libertés
Conseil national de l'industrie Économie
Secrétariat général pour l'investissement Économie
Institut national du service public (INSP) Formation
Conseil d'orientation de l'édition publique et de l'information administrative Information administrative
Direction de l'information légale et administrative Information administrative
Grande chancellerie de la Légion d'honneur Mémoire et distinctions
Conseil national des communes « Compagnon de la Libération » Mémoire et distinctions
Secrétariat général des affaires européennes (SGAE) Politique européenne et internationale
Haut conseil du financement de la protection sociale Santé publique
Secrétariat général de la défense et de la sécurité nationale (SGDSN) Sécurité et Défense
Institut national des hautes études de la Sécurité et de la Justice Sécurité et Défense
Groupement interministériel de contrôle Sécurité et Défense
Institut des hautes études de Défense nationale Sécurité et Défense
Comité de la filière industrielle de sécurité Sécurité et Défense
Direction des services administratifs et financiers Soutien
Commissariat général à la stratégie et à la prospective (France Stratégie) Stratégie et prospective
Conseil d'orientation pour l'emploi (COE) Stratégie et prospective
Centre d'études prospectives et d'informations internationales Stratégie et prospective
Conseil d'orientation des retraites (COR) Stratégie et prospective
Conseil d'analyse économique (CAE) Stratégie et prospective
Direction générale de l'administration et de la fonction publique Fonction publique
Conseil stratégique de la recherche Recherche
Direction Interministérielle du Numérique Recherche
France Stratégie


Hôtel Matignon, the official residence of the prime minister

Under the Third Republic, the French Constitutional Laws of 1875 titled the head of government as the "President of the Council of Ministers" (French: Président du Conseil des Ministres), though he was informally called "prime minister" or "premier" outside of France.

The president of the council was vested with similar formal powers to those of the prime minister of the United Kingdom. In practice, however, this proved insufficient to command the confidence of France's multi-party parliament. Most notably, the legislature had the power to force the entire cabinet out of office by a vote of censure. As a result, cabinets were often toppled twice a year, and there were long stretches where France was left with only a caretaker government. Under the circumstances, the president of the council was usually a fairly weak figure whose strength was more dependent on charisma than formal powers. Often, he was little more than primus inter pares, and was more the cabinet's chairman than its leader.

After several unsuccessful attempts to strengthen the role in the first half of the twentieth century, a semi-presidential system was introduced under the Fifth Republic. It was at this point that the post was formally named "Prime Minister" and took its present form. The 1958 Constitution includes several provisions intended to strengthen the prime minister's position, for instance by restricting the legislature's power to censure the government. As a result, a prime minister has only been censured once during the existence of the Fifth Republic, in 1962 when Georges Pompidou was toppled over objections to President Charles de Gaulle's effort to have the president popularly elected. However, at the ensuing 1962 French legislative election, de Gaulle's coalition won an increased majority, and Pompidou was reappointed prime minister.


Élisabeth Borne has served as Prime Minister since 16 May 2022.

Fifth Republic records

Length of the successive governments of the French Fifth Republic
  • The only person to serve as prime minister more than once under the Fifth Republic was Jacques Chirac (1974–1976 and 1986–1988).
  • The youngest appointed prime minister was Laurent Fabius, on 17 July 1984. He was 37 years old.
  • The oldest appointed prime minister was Pierre Bérégovoy, on 2 April 1992. He was 66 years old.
  • Two women have been appointed at the head of government: Édith Cresson and Élisabeth Borne.
  • Two prime ministers were mayor of Bordeaux, and at the same time prime minister, Jacques Chaban-Delmas (1969–1972) and Alain Juppé (1995–1997).
  • The longest-serving prime minister was Georges Pompidou, 6 years, 2 months and 26 days, from 1962 to 1968.
  • The shortest-serving prime minister was Bernard Cazeneuve, 5 months and 4 days, from 2016 to 2017.
  • Three prime ministers were born abroad: Édouard Balladur in İzmir, Turkey; Dominique de Villepin in Rabat, Morocco; and Manuel Valls in Barcelona, Spain.

See also

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