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List of Presidents of the French Republic

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Title: List of Presidents of the French Republic  
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Subject: François Mitterrand, Napoleon III, Marie François Sadi Carnot, Paul Doumer, Jules Grévy, Félix Faure, Louis Jules Trochu, Jean Casimir-Perier, Charles Dupuy, Nicolas Sarkozy
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List of Presidents of the French Republic

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 François Hollande, since 15 May 2012. He took office following the 2012 election.

First French Republic (1792–1804)

Second French Republic (1848–1852)

President of the Provisional Government of the Republic

Executive Commission (10 May 1848 – 24 June 1848)

Chief of the Executive Power


Political Party:       Bonapartist

Portrait Name
Term of Office;
Electoral mandates
Political Party Ref.
1 Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte
20 December 1848 2 December 1852 Bonapartist [1]
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 the following year. (2 December 1852 – 4 September 1870)

Third French Republic (1870–1940)

President of the Government of National Defense

Chief of the Executive Power

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


Political Party:       Radical       Independent       Independent (moderate Republican)       Republican (AD & predecessors)       Monarchist (Legitimist)

Portrait Name
Term of Office Political Party Ref.
2 Adolphe Thiers
31 August 1871 24 May 1873 former Orléanist;
moderate Republican
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 Mac-Mahon,
duc de Magenta

24 May 1873 30 January 1879 Legitimist [3]
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.
4 Jules Grévy
30 January 1879 2 December 1887 Opportunist Republican;
Left Republican
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.
5 Marie François Sadi Carnot
3 December 1887 25 June 1894 Opportunist Republican;
Left Republican
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.
6 Jean Casimir-Perier
27 June 1894 16 January 1895 Opportunist Republican;
Left Republican
Perier's was the shortest Presidential term: he resigned after six months and 20 days.
7 Félix Faure
17 January 1895 16 February 1899 Opportunist Republican;
Progressive Republican
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.
8 Émile Loubet
18 February 1899 18 February 1906 Democratic Republican Alliance [8]
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
18 February 1906 18 February 1913 Opportunist Republican;
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
18 February 1913 18 February 1920 PRD-ARD [10]
President during World War I. He subsequently served as President of the Council 1922–1924 and 1926–1929.
11 Paul Deschanel
18 February 1920 21 September 1920 ARD-PRDS [11]
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.
12 Alexandre Millerand
23 September 1920 11 June 1924 Independent [12]
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.
13 Gaston Doumergue
13 June 1924 13 June 1931 Radical [13]
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
13 June 1931 7 May 1932 Radical [14]
Elected in the second round of the 1931 election, having displaced the pacifist Aristide Briand. †Assassinated (shot) by the mentally unstable Paul Gorguloff.
15 Albert Lebrun
10 May 1932 11 July 1940
(de facto)
Democratic Alliance [15]
Re-elected in 1939, his second term was interrupted de facto by the rise to power of Marshal Philippe Pétain.

Acting presidents

Under the Third Republic, the President of the Council served as Acting President whenever the office of President was vacant.

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

French State (1940–1944)

Chief of State

Provisional Government of the French Republic (1944–1947)

Chairmen of the Provisional Government

Fourth French Republic (1947–1959)


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

Portrait Name
Term of Office;
Electoral mandates
Political Party Ref.
16 Vincent Auriol
16 January 1947 16 January 1954 French Section of the Workers' International [16]
First President of the Fourth Republic, his term was marked by the First Indochina War.
17 René Coty
16 January 1954 8 January 1959 National Centre of Independents and Peasants [17]
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 (1959 – present)


Political Party:       Socialist (PS)       Centrist (CD)       Republican (UDF)       Gaullist (UNR; UDR; RPR)       Liberal Gaullist (UMP)

Portrait Name
Term of Office;
Electoral mandates
Political Party Ref.
18 Charles de Gaulle
8 January 1959 28 April 1969 Union for the New Republic
(renamed Union for the Defence of the Republic in 1968)
1958, 1965
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; 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, he finally resigned following the failure of the 1969 referendum on regionalisation.
Alain Poher (interim)
28 April 1969 20 June 1969 Democratic Centre [19]
Interim President, as President of the Senate. Defeated by Georges Pompidou in the second round of the 1969 election.
19 Georges Pompidou
20 June 1969 2 April 1974 Union for the Defence of the Republic
(renamed Union of Democrats for the Republic in 1971)
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 (interim)
2 April 1974 27 May 1974 Democratic Centre [19]
Interim President, as President of the Senate. Did not stand against Valéry Giscard d'Estaing in the 1974 election.
20 Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
(1926– )
27 May 1974 21 May 1981 Independent Republicans (until 1977)
Republican Party (from 1977)
(within Union for French Democracy from 1978)
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 François Mitterrand
21 May 1981 17 May 1995 Socialist Party [22]
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
(1932– )
17 May 1995 16 May 2007 Rally for the Republic (until 2002)
Union for a Popular Movement (from 2002)
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. Opposed the Iraq War. He did not run in 2007, he retired from political life and returned to the Conseil constitutionnel.
23 Nicolas Sarkozy
(1955– )
16 May 2007 15 May 2012 Union for a Popular Movement [24]
Served in numerous ministerial posts 1993–1995 and 2002–2007. Leader of the UMP since 2004. In the 2007 election, he topped the first round poll, and was elected in the second round against 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 South Ossetia War; 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. President of the G8 and the G20 in 2011. Defeated in the 2012 election.
24 François Hollande
(1954– )
15 May 2012 Incumbent Socialist Party [25]
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.

See also


de:Liste der Staatsoberhäupter Frankreichs#Zweite Republik
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