French politics

The race to the Speaker’s Chair

Which person to succeed Bernard Accoyer as Chairman of the French Assembly? And which person to get this so wanted position?

With the defeat of Ségolène Royal, new ambitions appeared even if there were some indiscretions. Thus, some personalities of the French Socialist Party more or less declared their intention to apply for the Chair of the lower House during the 26th of June constitutive session. If some people as Jack Lang (defeated) or Marylise Lebranchu (who remains minister) are out of race, others hope to get out while the going is good as Elisabeth Guigou, Claude Bartolone and Jean Glavany. Laurence Dumont, re-elected MP of Calvados, also applied but finally gave up her candidacy to back Elisabeth Guigou. Here, a short presentation of the three applicants:


Seine-Saint-Denis MP since 2002, the former European Affairs then Justice Minister declared she was “available” to succeed Bernard Accoyer. A probable election of Elisabeth Guigou would be very positive insofar as it would be the first time a woman accesses to the Chair of the French National Assembly, which it would be conform to the promise made by François Hollande during the presidential campaign to Ségolène Royal.

What is more, Elisabeth Guigou has assets: EU expert, she pledges for a better interaction between the European and the French Parliament, what seems more and more obvious since the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009. At last, as former Foreign Affairs Committee then Assembly Vice-Chairwoman, it’s finally logical she targets the Chair considering herself as the most legitimistic.


Claude Bartolone seems to be on an excellent position to be the fourth personality of the French State according to some political analysts. The former minister for City is clearly considered as the favourite to be Chairman indeed, all the more so as he can count on his experience and his perfect understanding of the French Assembly in which he is member since 1981. The current Seine-Saint-Denis General Council President has networks and supporters inside, a detail it will be probably determinant in the internal campaign. What is more, the man seems to be determined, as he has not been appointed in the Ayrault Government. Becoming the next Chairman of the French Assembly would be a kind of compensation for him.


The ex-minister of Agriculture also considers he has opportunities to occupy the position. Vice-Chairman and Hautes-Pyrénées MP since 1981, he is reputed to perfect know the wheels of the Palais Bourbon. Nonetheless, and in spite of the fact he declared his candidacy vis-à-vis Ségolène Royal, he now appears as an outsider and the recent disqualification of her rival changed everything.

Three candidacies and three different personalities who struggle to be the next Chairman (or Chairwoman) of the French national Assembly and succeed Bernard Accoyer. The socialist MPs are making their decision on the next 21th of June – the Music Day – and reach an agreement, all the more so as we’re going to a duel between Guigou and Bartolone in which the second is clearly the favourite. Nonetheless a surprise is still possible although little probable.