State and regional organization

Date of update

System of government

President & Prime Minister

The President of the Republic is elected for a five-year term by direct election.

President of the Republic (Head of State): Mr. Emmanuel Macron

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The French government comprises the Prime Minister, appointed by the President of the Republic, along with ministers and ministers of state appointed by the President after being put forward by the Prime Minister. Led by the Prime Minister, the French government sets out and implements nationwide government policy.

Prime Minister (Head of Government): Mr. Jean Castex

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Central government is represented in France’s regions and départements by Prefects, who hold authority over all the offices of central government in each area of the country.

The French parliament draws up and passes laws, and holds the government to account. The legislature is bicameral:

  • The National Assembly comprises 577 members (députés) elected for a five-year term by direct election.
  • The Senate comprises 343 senators elected for a six-year term via an indirect election. When agreement cannot be reached between the two chambers, the National Assembly’s decision is final.

Discover our regions on our interactive map!

Regional and local authorities

France has a variety of local authorities at regional, departmental and municipal level.

At each level, councilors are elected for a six-year term by direct election, and it is they who in turn elect the President of the Regional Council, the President of the Departmental Council, and the local Mayor.

Municipalities (communes) may join forces with each other to form intermunicipal bodies (communautés de communes, or communautés d’agglomération). Since 2014, the latter may be formed in mainland France to jointly conduct economic, transport, university, research, and innovation policy.

Administrative body Number Principal responsibilities
Regional Council 13
  • Lead party in drawing up regional economic development plans
  • Operating lycées (second stage of secondary school)
  • Vocational training, apprenticeships and career guidance
  • Economic development
  • Administering European Union structural funds
  • Managing key infrastructure (ports, airports, waterways)
  • Environment and energy policy
  • Spatial planning and regional development
  • Housing
  • Culture and sport
Departmental Council 101 including five overseas départements (DOM)
  • Overseeing social work
  • Administering social welfare
  • Maintenance of local roads
  • Operating collèges (middle schools, first stage of secondary schools)
  • Spatial planning and regional development
  • Culture and sport
Municipality (or communauté de communes or métropole) 35,416 in mainland France and its overseas territories, plus a further hundred in overseas local authorities and in New Caledonia
  • Social work
  • Administering social welfare
  • Managing local roads
  • Public records
  • Operating primary schools
  • Urban planning
  • Culture
  • Sports facilities
  • Road maintenance
  • Maintaining public order

There are five overseas local authorities: Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Wallis and Futuna, French Polynesia, Saint Barthélemy and Saint-Martin. Each one has its own specific organization and responsibilities.