The politics of France take place with the framework of a semi-presidential system determined by the French Constitution of the French Fifth Republic. The nation declares itself to be an "indivisible, secular, democratic, and social Republic". The constitution provides for a separation of powers and proclaims France's "attachment to the Rights of Man and the principles of national sovereignty as defined by the Declaration of 1789."
The political system of France consists of an executive branch, a legislative branch, and a judicial branch. Executive power is exercised by the President of the Republic and the Government. The Government consists of the Prime Minister and ministers. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President, and is responsible to Parliament. The government, including the Prime Minister, can be revoked by the National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, through a "censure motion"; this ensures that the Prime Minister is always supported by a majority of the lower house (which, on most topics, has prominence over the upper house).
Parliament comprises the National Assembly and the Senate. It passes statutes and votes on the budget; it controls the action of the executive through formal questioning on the floor of the houses of Parliament and by establishing commissions of inquiry. The constitutionality of the statutes is checked by the Constitutional Council, members of which are appointed by the President of the Republic, the President of the National Assembly, and the President of the Senate. Former presidents of the Republic also are members of the Council.
The independent judiciary is based upon civil law system which evolved from the Napoleonic codes. It is divided into the judicial branch (dealing with civil law and criminal law) and the administrative branch (dealing with appeals against executive decisions), each with their own independent supreme court of appeal: the Court of Cassation for the judicial courts and the Conseil d'Etat for the administrative courts. The French government includes various bodies that check abuses of power and independent agencies.
France is a unitary state. However, its administrative subdivisions—regions, departments and communes—have various legal functions, and the national government is prohibited from intruding into their normal operations.
France was a founding member of the European Coal and Steel Community, later the European Union. As such, France has transferred part of its sovereignty to European institutions, as provided by its constitution. The French government therefore has to abide by European treaties, directives and regulations.
The Economist Intelligence Unit has described France as a "flawed democracy" in 2018.