French legislative election, 1997

French legislative election, 1997

Infobox Election
election_name = French legislative election, 1997
country = France
type = legislative
ongoing = no
previous_election = French legislative election, 1993
previous_year = 1993
next_election = French legislative election, 2002
next_year = 2002
seats_for_election = All 577 seats to the French National Assembly
election_date = May 25 and June 1, 1997

leader1 = Lionel Jospin
party1 = Socialist Party (France)
leaders_seat1 = Haute-Garonne 7th
last_election1 = 53 seats
seats1 = 225
seat_change1 = +172
popular_vote1 = 5,977,045 (1st round)
9,722,022 (2nd round)
percentage1 = 23.49% (1st round)
38.20% (2nd round)

leader2 = Alain Juppé
party2 = Rally for the Republic
leaders_seat2 = Gironde-2nd
last_election2 = 242 seats
seats2 = 139
seat_change2 = -103
popular_vote2 = 3,983,257 (1st round)
5,714,354 (2nd round)
percentage2 = 15.65% (1st round)
22.46% (2nd round)

leader3 = François Léotard
party3 = Union for French Democracy
leaders_seat3 = Var-5th
last_election3 = 207 seats
seats3 = 112
seat_change3 = -95
popular_vote3 = 3,617,440 (1st round)
5,284,203 (2nd round)
percentage3 = 14.22% (1st round)
20.07% (2nd round)


map_size = 250px
map_caption = Map of results by constituency

title = PM
before_election = Alain Juppé
before_party = Rally for the Republic
after_election = Lionel Jospin
after_party = Socialist Party (France)

French legislative election took place in May 25 and June 1, 1997 to elect the 11th National Assembly of the Fifth Republic. It was the consequence of President Jacques Chirac's decision to call the legislative election one year before the deadline.

In March 1993, the right obtained a large victory in the legislative election and a comfortable parliamentary majority. Two years later, the RPR leader Jacques Chirac was elected President of France in promising to reduce the "social fracture". However, the programme of welfare reforms ("Plan Juppé") proposed by his Prime Minister Alain Juppé caused a social crisis in November and December 1995. The popularity of the executive duo decreased.

In spring 1997, President Chirac tried to take the left-wing opposition by surprise by breaking up the National Assembly. The first polls indicated a re-election of the right-wing majority. The "Plural Left" coalition, composed of the Socialists, the Communists, the Greens, the Citizens' Movement and the Left Radicals, proposed a program of social reforms to reduce unemployment, limiting the length of the work week to 35 hours. Alain Juppé's unpopularity may have made the left's win easier.

In the first round, the left-wing coalition obtained more votes than the incumbent parliamentary majority. The National Front achieved its best result in a legislative electionFact|date=March 2008. The right obtained its worst result in a legislative election during the Fifth Republic.

After he was blamed for the situation, Alain Juppé announced he would resign even if the right kept their majority in the National Assembly after the second round. For all that, the "Plural left" obtained the majority of the seats. However the Socialist Party needed its allies to form a majority. For the first time, the ecologists are represented in the Parliament. The participation of National Front's candidates in the second round increased the defeat of the "Presidential majority".

This was the first time since 1877 that a President of France lost a legislative election which he had called. The Socialist leader Lionel Jospin became Prime Minister of the third "cohabitation". It finished with the 2002 French presidential election.


bar box
title=Popular vote

11th Assembly by Parliamentary Group

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