Parliamentary Chamber: Assemblée nationale


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  Assemblée nationale

Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  21 March 1993
28 March 1993

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in the National Assembly on the normal expiry of the members’ term of office.

Background and outcome of elections:

  The election dates were set on 12 November 1992 and the campaign officially opened on 1 March 1993.

As for the previous (June 1988) National Assembly elections, the two traditional conservative parties – the Rally for the Republic (RPR) and the Union for French Democracy (UDF) – formed an alliance, under the Union for France (UPF) banner, and fielded a common candidate in most of the single-member electoral districts. Thus constituted, they presented the main challenge to the ruling Socialist Party (PS) of President of the Republic François Mitterand. Opinion polls also predicted a strong showing by the environmentalist parties (Greens and Ecology Generation (GE)), who for their part joined forces.

The campaign proved somewhat colourless, due in part to new limits on candidates’ spending. Main issues debated bore on the country’s economy, trade and the lengthy Socialist rule, which had also been plagued by corruption scandals. The PS was criticized for the sagging economy (marked especially by a high unemployment rate) and for bankruptcy of new ideas after years of governing, Mr. Mitterand having served since 1981. The RPR, led by former Prime Minister Jacques Chirac, expressed strong opposition to a recent agricultural trade pact between the United States and the European Community, and to EC reforms of its common agricultural policy; it furthermore called for tighter controls on immigration. The UDF, an umbrella grouping of five centrist and centre-right parties, was led by former President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and agreed with its partner as to trade issues while differing with it in favouring the Maastricht Treaty on European Union. With regard to economy, the PS stressed its support for a Europe-wide initiative for growth to help reduce unemployment, to which the UPF countered by proposing a privatisation programme to alleviate the budget deficit, as well as tax reforms and spending cuts. One of the foremost PS leaders, former Prime Minister Michel Rocard, proposed a “big bang” to restructure the French political left and move it closer to centrist policies. Altogether 5319 candidates were in the running for the Assembly’s 577 seats.

Results of the first round of voting foreshadowed an opposition landslide, in accordance with the polls, as conservative candidates captured 80 seats outright. In this context, Mr. Chirac called for Mr. Mitterand’s resignation; this was flatly refused. The second round confirmed the voting pattern, with the Gaullist RPR and UDF together securing some 80% of the seats and the PS (including Mr. Rocard, a presidential hopeful) losing nearly 200. The environmentalist alliance made a surprisingly poor showing while the ultra-right National Front, led by Mr. Jean-Marie Le Pen, was shut out of seats although polling more votes than the Communist Party, which captured 23. As in past elections, this outcome was attributed to the single-district majority electoral system and a concentration of voters in certain areas.

Given the overall voting result, President Mitterrand named Mr. Edouard Balladur Prime Minister on 29 March. The latter, as member of the largest party in the Assembly (RPR), was favoured by Mr. Chirac, who like Mr. Giscard d’Estaing, was apparently saving himself for the presidential battle in 1995. The next day, a right-wing coalition Cabinet, comprising 30 members from both the RPR and UDF, was announced. Thus began a second period of “cohabitation” between a Socialist president and opposition Government, such as that which existed from 1986 to 1988.

Round no 1 (21 March 1993): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 38,968,660
Voters 26,860,177 (68.92%)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 1,417,774
Valid votes 25,442,403
Round no 2 (28 March 1993): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 33,773,804
Voters 22,802,301 (67.51%)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 2,169,361
Valid votes 20,632,940

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Votes %
Rally for the Republic (RPR) 5,188,196 20.39
Union for French Democracy (UDF) 4,855,274 19.08
Socialist Party (PS) 4,476,716 17.59
Various Right 1,199,887 4.71
Communist Party 2,336,254 9.18
Presidential majority* 457,193 1.79
Left Radicals (MRG) 228,758 0.89
National Front (FN) 3,159,477 12.41
Greens 1,022,749 4.01
Ecology Generation (GE) 921,925 3.62
Extreme Left 451,804 1.77
Regionalists 116,474 0.45
Round no 2: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Votes %
Rally for the Republic (RPR) 5,832,987 28.27
Union for French Democracy (UDF) 5,331,935 25.84
Socialist Party (PS) 5,829,493 28.65
Various Right 736,372 3.56
Communist Party 951,213 4.61
Presidential majority* 448,187 2.17
Left Radicals (MRG) 237,622 1.15
National Front (FN) 1,168,150 5.66
Greens 20,088 0.09
Ecology Generation (GE) 17,403 0.08
Extreme Left 22,509 0.10
Regionalists 36,971 0.17

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Rally for the Republic (RPR) 42
Union for French Democracy (UDF) 36
Socialist Party (PS) 0
Various Right 2
Communist Party 0
Presidential majority* 0
Left Radicals (MRG) 0
National Front (FN) 0
Greens 0
Ecology Generation (GE) 0
Extreme Left 0
Regionalists 0
Round no 2: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Rally for the Republic (RPR) 205
Union for French Democracy (UDF) 177
Socialist Party (PS) 54
Various Right 22
Communist Party 23
Presidential majority* 10
Left Radicals (MRG) 6
National Front (FN) 0
Greens 0
Ecology Generation (GE) 0
Extreme Left 0
Regionalists 0

  * Comprised various candidates of the Left.

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 542
Women: 35

Distribution of seats according to age:  
28-30 years 3
31-35 years 18
36-40 years 41
41-45 years 99
46-50 years 141
51-55 years 93
56-60 years 68
61-65 years 55
66-70 years 37
Over 70 years 22

Distribution of seats according to profession:

Liberal profession (including 62 medical, 43 legal) 134
Judges, civil servants and public sector employees 108
Teachers 102
Private sector employees 97
Employers and self-employed (including 21 farmers) 85
Retired and other professions 51

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Copyright © 1993 Inter-Parliamentary Union