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The National Assembly (French: Assemblée Nationale; pronounced [asɑ̃ble nasjɔnal]) is the lower house of the bicameral French Parliament under the Fifth Republic, the upper house being the Senate (Sénat).
The National Assembly's legislators are known as députés (French pronunciation: [depyˈte]; "delegate" or "envoy" in English; the word is an etymological cognate of the English word "deputy", which is the standard term for legislators in many parliamentary systems).
There are 577 députés, each elected by a single-member constituency through a two-round voting system. Thus, 289 seats are required for a majority. The assembly is presided over by a president (currently Richard Ferrand), 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 it has been dissolved in the preceding twelve months.
This measure has become rarer since the 2000 referendum reduced the presidential term from seven to five years: a President usually has a majority elected in the Assembly two months after the presidential election, and it would be useless for him/her to dissolve it for those reasons.
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.
The official seal of the National Assembly is the Palais Bourbon on the banks of the river Seine; the Assembly also uses other neighboring buildings, including the Immeuble Chaban-Delmas on the rue de l'Université. It is guarded by Republican Guards.