Regional council (France)

A regional council (French: conseil régional) is the elected assembly of a region of France.


Regional councils were created by law on 5 July 1972. Originally they were simply consultative bodies consisting of the region's parliamentary representatives plus an equal number of members nominated by the departments and municipalities.

The decentralisation programme of 1982-1983 provided for direct election which began in 1986 and increased the powers of the councils.


The Assemblies elect their own Presidents who preside over the meetings and head the Regional Executive.

Electoral system

Before 2004

Between 1986 and 2004, regional councils were elected by closed list proportional representation. The Front National was frequently left with the balance of power as a result and this led to a change in the electoral law.

Since 2004

Since 2004 three quarters of the seats continue to be elected by proportional representation with each list having an equal number of male and female candidates. The other quarter are given to the list that received the most votes. In order to gain these top up seats, a list must have gained an absolute majority of the votes in the first round. If this has not been achieved a second round is held with each party that gained at least ten percent of the votes competing. The party that wins a plurality in this round gains the bonus seats. It is common in this round for lower ranking parties to withdraw in favour of parties they have entered into an alliance with.

This can however potentially mean that a list that gained fewer votes in the first round and thus fewer proportional seats can end up the overall winner.

List of councils

External links

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