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Council of the Republic (France)

Council of the Republic (France)

The Council of the Republic (French: Conseil de la République) was the upper house of the French parliament under the Fourth Republic, with the National Assembly being the lower house. It was established by the Constitution of 1946, dissolved by the Constitution of 1958 and replaced with the Senate.

Council of the Republic

Conseil de la République
1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Councils
of the Fourth Republic
Insignia of the Council
Founded27 October 1946 (1946-10-27)
Disbanded8 December 1958 (1958-12-08)
Preceded byConstituent Assembly[lower-alpha 1]
(Provisional Government)
Succeeded bySenate
(Fifth Republic)
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Gaston Monnerville, RS
Length of term
6 years
Indirect universal suffrage
First election
8 December 1946 (1946-12-08)
Last election
8 June 1958 (1958-06-08)
Meeting place
Salle des Séances
Luxembourg Palace
Paris, French Republic


The constitution of the Fourth Republic, which came into force in 1946, stipulated that parliament was bicameral.[1] The upper house was named the "Council of the Republic" (as opposed to the Senate of the Third Republic) and was granted greatly diminished powers.[2]


The council did not have the power to make laws, which was the responsibility of the National Assembly. The council was mainly consultative, and bills were only given a single reading at the council before being passed.[2]

However, it did share responsibility should the need arose to amend the constitution in matters regarding the election of the President of the Republic.[2] A formal notice to the council was required to declare war.[1]

In 1954, the Constitution was amended to provided that all bills would be examined successively by the National Assembly and the Council of the Republic, essentially restoring full legislative powers to the latter.[1]


Members of the Council were known as '"councillors" (conseiller) from 1946 to 1948, and then "senators" from 1948 onwards. The number of senators had to be between 250 and 320.[1] Senators were elected by indirect universal suffrage: five-sixths were elected by communes and departments; the other one-sixth were elected by the National Assembly, the lower house.[2] They served six-year terms.[2]


The President was the presiding officer of the council.

Political Party:   MRP   Rad-Soc

Portrait Name Took office Left office Political Party
1 Auguste Champetier de Ribes27 December 19466 March 1947MRP
2 Gaston Monnerville18 March 19474 October 1958Rad-Soc


  1. "Constitution de 1946, IVe République" (in French). Constitutional Council of France. Retrieved 27 May 2011.
  2. "La Chambre haute avant la Vème République". Vie publique (in French). Government of France. 6 May 2006. Retrieved 27 May 2011.


  1. Single chamber. The Parliament of the Provisional Government was unicameral.
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