The French National Assembly ( ) is the lower house of the bicameral Parliament of France under the Fifth Republic. The other is the Senate ("Sénat").
The National Assembly's members are known as députés. Strictly speaking, "député" translates into English as "delegate" or "envoy", but the word is often loosely translated to its etymological cognate "deputy". The English word "deputy" is (in principle) "adjoint" in French.
There are 577 députés, each elected by a single-member constituency through a two-rounds system. 289 seats are therefore required for a majority. The assembly is presided over by a president (currently Bernard Accoyer), normally from the largest party represented, assisted by vice-presidents from across the represented political spectrum.
The term of the National Assembly is five years; however, the President of the Republic may dissolve the Assembly (thereby calling for new elections) unless he has dissolved it in the preceding twelve months. This measure is becoming rarer since the 2000 referendum reduced the President's term from seven to five years : a President usually has a majority elected in the Assembly two months after him, and it would be useless for him to dissolve it for those reasons.
The official seat of the National Assembly is the Palais Bourbon on the banks of the river Seine ( ); the Assembly also uses other neighbouring buildings, including the Immeuble Chaban-Delmas on the rue de l'Université ( ). It is guarded by Republican Guards.
Following a tradition started by the first National Assembly during the French Revolution, the "left-wing" parties sit to the left as seen from the president's seat, and the "right-wing" parties sit to the right, and the seating arrangement thus directly indicates the political spectrum as represented in the Assembly.