List of Presidents of France

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This is a list of Presidents of France. The first President of France is considered to be Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (later Napoleon III), who was elected in the 1848 election, under the French Second Republic. The current President is Francois Hollande, from 15 May 2012. He was elected in the 2012 election.

First French Republic (1792–1804)[edit]

National Convention[edit]

Main article: National Convention

The National Convention (20 September 1792 – 26 October 1795) was led by a President (see List of Presidents of the National Convention); the Presidency rotated fortnightly.

From 1793 the National Convention was dominated by its sub-committee the Committee of Public Safety, in which the leading figures were Georges Danton and then Maximilien Robespierre.

Directory[edit]

Main article: French Directory

The Directory was officially led by a president, as stipulated by Article 141 of the Constitution of the Year III. An entirely ceremonial post, the first president was Rewbell who was chosen by lot on 2 November 1795. The directors conducted their elections privately, with the presidency rotating every three months.[1] The last president was Gohier.[2]

The leading figure of the Directory was Paul Barras, the only Director to serve throughout the Directory.

Directors of the Directory (1 November 1795 – 10 November 1799)
Paul Barras Louis-Marie de La Révellière-Lépeaux Jean-François Rewbell Lazare Carnot Étienne-François Letourneur
Drawn by lot to be replaced,
1 Prairial year V (20 May 1797).
François Barthélemy
Barthélemy & Carnot proscribed and replaced after
Coup of 18 Fructidor year V (4 Sept. 1797).
Philippe-Antoine Merlin de Douai François de Neufchâteau
Drawn by lot to be replaced,
26 Floréal year VI (15 May 1798).
Jean-Baptiste Treilhard
Drawn by lot to be replaced,
27 Floréal year VII (16 May 1799).
Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyès
Compelled to resign,
30 Prairial year VII (18 June 1799).
Compelled to resign,
30 Prairial year VII (18 June 1799).
Election annulled as irregular,
29 Prairial year VII (17 June 1799).
Roger Ducos Jean-François-Auguste Moulin Louis-Jérôme Gohier
After the Coup of 18 Brumaire (9 November 1799), Barras, Ducos & Sieyès resigned.
Moulin & Gohier, refusing to resign, were arrested by General Moreau.

Consulate[edit]

Main article: French Consulate

Provisional Consuls (10 November – 12 December 1799):

Consuls (12 December 1799 – 18 May 1804):

Napoléon Bonaparte proclaimed himself Emperor of the French in 1804, reigning as Emperor Napoleon I 1804–1814 (First French Empire) and 1815 (Hundred Days).

The French monarchy was restored 1814–1815 and 1815–1830 (Bourbon Restoration), and 1830–1848 (July Monarchy).

Second French Republic (1848–1852)[edit]

President of the Provisional Government of the Republic[edit]

Executive Commission[edit]

Members of the Executive Commission (10 May 1848 – 24 June 1848):

Chief of the Executive Power[edit]

President of the Republic[edit]

Political parties

      Bonapartist

Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of Office;
Electoral mandates
Political Party Ref.
1 Napoleon III, målning av Franz Xaver Winterhalter från 1857.jpg Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte
(1808–1873)
20 December 1848 2 December 1852 Bonapartist [3]
1848
Nephew of Napoléon I. Elected first President of the French Republic, in the 1848 election against Louis-Eugène Cavaignac. He provoked the French coup of 1851, and proclaimed himself Emperor in 1852.

Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte proclaimed himself Emperor of the French in 1852, reigning as Emperor Napoleon III 1852–1870 (Second French Empire).

Third French Republic (1870–1940)[edit]

President of the Government of National Defense[edit]

Chief of the Executive Power[edit]

  • Adolphe Thiers (17 February 1871 – 30 August 1871) (became President on 31 August 1871)

Presidents of the Republic[edit]

Political parties

      Independent
      Moderate Monarchist
      Opportunist Republican
      Democratic Republican Alliance
      Radical-Socialist Party

Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of Office Political Party Ref.
2 Adolphe Thiers Nadar 2.JPG Adolphe Thiers
(1797–1877)
31 August 1871 24 May 1873 Independent [4]
Initially a moderate monarchist, named President following the adoption of the Rivet law. He became a Republican during his term, and resigned in the face of hostility from the Assemblée nationale, largely in favour of a return to monarchy.
3 Patrice de MacMahon crop.jpg Patrice de Mac-Mahon,
duc de Magenta

(1808–1893)
24 May 1873 30 January 1879 Moderate Monarchist [5]
A Marshal of France, he was the only monarchist (and only Duke) to serve as President of the Third Republic. He resigned shortly after the Republican victory in the 1877 legislative elections, following his decision to dissolve the Chamber of Deputies. During his term, the French Constitutional Laws of 1875 that served as the Constitution of the Third Republic were passed, and he therefore became the first President under the constitutional settlement that would last until 1940.
The Government of Jules Armand Dufaure deputises during the interim (30 January 1879).
4 Jules Grevy.jpg Jules Grévy
(1807–1891)
30 January 1879 2 December 1887 Opportunist Republican [6]
The first President to complete a full term, he was easily re-elected in December 1885. He was nonetheless forced to resign, following an honours scandal in which his son-in-law was implicated.
The Government of Maurice Rouvier deputises during the interim (2–3 December 1887).
5 Marie Francois Sadi Carnot.jpg Marie François Sadi Carnot
(1837–1894)
3 December 1887 25 June 1894 Opportunist Republican [7]
His term was marked by boulangist unrest and the Panama scandals, and by diplomacy with Russia. †Assassinated (stabbed) by Sante Geronimo Caserio a few months before the end of his mandate, he is interred at the Panthéon, Paris.
The Government of Charles Dupuy deputises during the interim (25–27 June 1894).
6 Jean Casimir-Perier.jpg Jean Casimir-Perier
(1847–1907)
27 June 1894 16 January 1895 Opportunist Republican [8]
Perier's was the shortest Presidential term: he resigned after six months and 20 days.
The Government of Charles Dupuy deputises during the interim (16–17 January 1895).
7 Felix Faure.jpg Félix Faure
(1841–1899)
17 January 1895 16 February 1899 Opportunist Republican;
Progressive Republican
[9]
Pursued colonial expansion and ties with Russia. President during the Dreyfus Affair. †Four years into his term he died of apoplexy at the Élysée Palace, allegedly in flagrante.
The Government of Charles Dupuy deputises during the interim (16–18 February 1899).
8 Émile Loubet by Paul Nadar c1900.jpg Émile Loubet
(1838–1929)
18 February 1899 18 February 1906 Democratic Republican Alliance [10]
During his seven-year term, the 1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and the State was adopted, and only four Presidents of the Council succeeded to the Hôtel Matignon. He did not seek re-election at the end of his term.
9 Armand Fallières Paris.jpg Armand Fallières
(1841–1931)
18 February 1906 18 February 1913 Democratic Republican Party [11]
President during the Agadir Crisis, when French troops first occupied Morocco. He was a party to the Triple Entente, which he strengthened by diplomacy. Like his predecessor, he did not seek re-election.
10 Raymond Poincaré 1914.jpg Raymond Poincaré
(1860–1934)
18 February 1913 18 February 1920 Democratic Republican Party [12]
President during World War I. He subsequently served as President of the Council 1922–1924 and 1926–1929.
11 Paul Deschanel 01.jpg Paul Deschanel
(1855–1922)
18 February 1920 21 September 1920 Democratic Republican and Social Party [13]
An intellectual elected to the Académie française, he overcame the popular Georges Clemenceau, to general surprise, in the January 1920 election. He resigned after eight months due to mental health problems.
The Government of Alexandre Millerand deputises during the interim (21–23 September 1920).
12 Alexandre Millerand, 12e président de la République française.jpg Alexandre Millerand
(1859–1943)
23 September 1920 11 June 1924 Independent [14]
An "Independent Socialist" increasingly drawn to the right wing, he resigned after four years following the victory of the Cartel des Gauches in the 1924 legislative elections.
The Government of Frédéric François-Marsal deputises during the interim (11–13 June 1924).
13 Gaston Doumergue 1924 crop.jpg Gaston Doumergue
(1863–1937)
13 June 1924 13 June 1931 Radical-Socialist Party [15]
The first Protestant President, he took a firm political stance against Germany and its resurgent nationalism. His seven-year term was marked by ministerial discontinuity.
14 Paul Doumer 1931.jpg Paul Doumer
(1857–1932)
13 June 1931 7 May 1932 Radical-Socialist Party [16]
Elected in the second round of the 1931 election, having displaced the pacifist Aristide Briand. †Assassinated (shot) by the mentally unstable Paul Gorguloff.
The Government of André Tardieu deputises during the interim (7–10 May 1932).
15 Albert Lebrun 1932 (2).jpg Albert Lebrun
(1871–1950)
10 May 1932 11 July 1940
(de facto)
Democratic Alliance [17]
Re-elected in 1939, his second term was interrupted de facto by the rise to power of Marshal Philippe Pétain.

The office of President of the French Republic did not exist from 1940 until 1947.

French State (1940–1944)[edit]

Chief of State[edit]

Provisional Government of the French Republic (1944–1946)[edit]

Chairmen of the Provisional Government[edit]

Fourth French Republic (1946–1958)[edit]

Presidents[edit]

Political Party:       Socialist (SFIO)       Centre-right (CNIP)

Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of Office;
Electoral mandates
Political Party Ref.
16 VincentAuriol.png Vincent Auriol
(1884–1966)
16 January 1947 16 January 1954 French Section of the Workers' International [18]
1947
First President of the Fourth Republic; his term was marked by the First Indochina War.
17 René Coty-1929.jpg René Coty
(1882–1962)
16 January 1954 8 January 1959 National Centre of Independents and Peasants [19]
1953
Presidency marked by the Algerian War; appealed to Charles de Gaulle to resolve the May 1958 crisis. Following the promulgation of the Fifth Republic, he resigned after five years as President, giving way to de Gaulle.

Fifth French Republic (1958–present)[edit]

Presidents[edit]

Political Party:

      Socialist (PS)       Centrist (CD)       Republican (FNRI; PR)       Gaullist (UNR; UDR; RPR)       Gaullist/Centre-right (UMP)

Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of Office;
Electoral mandates
Political Party Ref.
18 Charles de Gaulle-1963.jpg Charles de Gaulle
(1890–1970)
8 January 1959 28 April 1969 Union for the New Republic
(renamed Union of Democrats for the Fifth Republic in 1967)
[20]
1958, 1965
Leader of the Free French Forces 1940-1944. President of the Provisional Government 1944–1946. Appointed President of the Council by René Coty in May 1958, to resolve the crisis of the Algerian War. He adopted a new Constitution, thus founding the Fifth Republic. Easily elected President in the 1958 election by electoral college, he took office the following month; having modified the Presidential election procedure in the 1962 referendum, he was re-elected by universal suffrage in the 1965 election. In 1966, he withdrew France from NATO integrated military command, and expelled the American bases on French soil. Having refused to step down during the crisis of May 1968, resigned following the failure of the 1969 referendum on regionalisation.
Alain Poher en 1968.JPG Alain Poher (interim)
(1909–1996)
28 April 1969 20 June 1969 Democratic Centre [21]
Interim President, as President of the Senate. Defeated by Georges Pompidou in the second round of the 1969 election.
19 Georges.Pompidou (cropped).jpg Georges Pompidou
(1911–1974)
20 June 1969 2 April 1974 Union of Democrats for the Republic [22]
1969
Prime Minister under Charles de Gaulle 1962–1968. Elected President in the 1969 election against the centrist Alain Poher. Favoured European integration. Supported economic modernisation and industrialisation. Faced the 1973 oil crisis. †Died in office of Waldenström's macroglobulinemia, two years before the end of his mandate.
Alain Poher en 1968.JPG Alain Poher (interim)
(1909–1996)
2 April 1974 27 May 1974 Democratic Centre [21]
Interim President again, as President of the Senate. Did not stand against Valéry Giscard d'Estaing in the 1974 election.
20 Valéry Giscard d’Estaing 1978(3).jpg Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
(born 1926)
27 May 1974 21 May 1981 Independent Republicans (until 1977)
Republican Party (from 1977)
(within Union for French Democracy from 1978)
[23]
1974
Founder of the FNRI and later the UDF in his efforts to unify the centre-right, he served in several Gaullist governments. Narrowly elected in the 1974 election, he instigated numerous reforms, including the lowering of the age of civil majority from 21 to 18, and the legalisation of abortion. He soon faced a global economic crisis and rising unemployment. Although the polls initially gave him a lead, he was defeated in the 1981 election by François Mitterrand, partly due to the disunion within the right wing.
21 Reagan Mitterrand 1984 (cropped 2).jpg François Mitterrand
(1916–1996)
21 May 1981 17 May 1995 Socialist Party [24]
1981, 1988
Candidate of a united left-wing ticket in the 1965 election, he founded the Socialist Party in 1971. Having narrowly lost the 1974 election, he was finally elected in the 1981 election. He instigated several reforms (abolition of the death penalty, a fifth week of paid leave for employees). After the right-wing victory in the 1986 legislative elections, he named Jacques Chirac Prime Minister, thus beginning the first cohabitation. Re-elected in the 1988 election against Chirac, he was again forced to cohabit with Édouard Balladur following the 1993 legislative elections. He retired in 1995 after the conclusion of his second term. He was the first President elected twice by universal suffrage, he was the first left-wing President of the Fifth Republic, and his Presidential tenure was the longest of the Fifth Republic.
22 Jacques Chirac.jpg Jacques Chirac
(born 1932)
17 May 1995 16 May 2007 Rally for the Republic (until 2002)
Union for a Popular Movement (from 2002)
[25]
1995, 2002
Prime Minister 1974–1976; on resignation, founded the RPR. Eliminated in the first round of the 1981 election, he again served as Prime Minister 1986–1988. Beaten in the 1988 election, he was elected in the 1995 election. He engaged in social reforms to counter "social fracture". In 1997, he dissolved the Assemblée nationale; a left-wing victory in the 1997 legislative elections, forced him to name Lionel Jospin Prime Minister for a five-year cohabitation. Presidential terms reduced from seven to five years. In 2002, he was re-elected against the leader of the extreme right-wing Jean-Marie Le Pen. Sent troops to Afghanistan, but opposed the Iraq War. He did not run in 2007, he retired from political life and returned to the Conseil constitutionnel.
23 Flickr - europeanpeoplesparty - EPP Summit October 2010 (105).jpg Nicolas Sarkozy
(born 1955)
16 May 2007 15 May 2012 Union for a Popular Movement [26]
2007
Served in numerous ministerial posts 1993–1995 and 2002–2007. Leader of the UMP since 2004. Elected in the 2007 election, defeating Ségolène Royal. Soon after taking office, he introduced the French fiscal package of 2007 and other laws to counter illegal immigration and recidivism. President of the Council of the EU in 2008, he defended the Treaty of Lisbon and mediated in the Russo-Georgian War; reintroduced France to NATO integrated military command; President of the G8 and the G20 in 2011. At national level, he had to deal with the financial crisis and its consequences. Following the 2008 constitutional reform, he became the first President since Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte to address the Versailles Congress on 22 June 2009. He introduced education and pension reforms. Sent troops to Libya (Opération Harmattan) in 2011. Defeated in the 2012 election.
24 Francois Hollande 2015.jpeg François Hollande
(born 1954)
15 May 2012 Incumbent Socialist Party [27]
2012
Served as Deputy for Corrèze 1 1988–1993, 1997; and as First Secretary of the Socialist Party 1997–2008. He was Mayor of Tulle 2001–2008, and President of the Corrèze General Council 2008–2012. The second left-wing President of the Fifth Republic. Elected in the 2012 election, defeating Nicolas Sarkozy. Legalised same-sex marriage in 2013. The army intervened in Mali (Operation Serval), in the Central African Republic (Operation Sangaris), and against the Islamic State. Paris suffered terrorist attacks in January 2015 and November 2015. Hosted the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference.
François Hollande Nicolas Sarkozy Jacques Chirac François Mitterrand Valéry Giscard d'Estaing Georges Pompidou Alain Poher Charles de Gaulle

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cheynet, Pierre-Dominique (2013). "France: Presidents of the Executive Directory: 1795-1799". Archontology.org. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Lefebvre & Soboul, p. 199.
  3. ^ "Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (1808–1873)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  4. ^ "Adolphe Thiers (1797–1877)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  5. ^ "Patrice de Mac-Mahon (1808–1893)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  6. ^ "Jules Grévy (1807–1891)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  7. ^ "Marie-François-Sadi Carnot (1837–1894)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  8. ^ "Jean Casimir-Perier (1847–1907)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  9. ^ "Félix Faure (1841–1899)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  10. ^ "Emile Loubet (1836–1929)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  11. ^ "Armand Fallières (1841–1931)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  12. ^ "Raymond Poincaré (1860–1934)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  13. ^ "Paul Deschanel (1855–1922)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  14. ^ "Alexandre Millerand (1859–1943)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  15. ^ "Gaston Doumergue (1863–1937)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  16. ^ "Paul Doumer (1857–1932)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  17. ^ "Albert Lebrun (1871–1950)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  18. ^ "Vincent Auriol (1884–1966)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  19. ^ "René Coty (1882–1962)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  20. ^ "Charles de Gaulle (1890–1970)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  21. ^ a b "Alain Poher (1909–1996)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  22. ^ "Georges Pompidou (1911–1974)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  23. ^ "Valéry Giscard d'Estaing (1926)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  24. ^ "François Mitterrand (1916–1996)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  25. ^ "Jacques Chirac (1932)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  26. ^ "Nicolas Sarkozy (1955)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 15 May 2012. 
  27. ^ "Biographie officielle de François Hollande" [Official biography of François Hollande] (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 15 May 2012.