When Does The New President Take Office?

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The new president takes office from the day of his investiture at the Elysee Palace. On this occasion, the handover with the outgoing president is held. The inaugural day may take place as soon as the election results are officially announced by the Constitutional Council or, at the latest, on the last day of the mandate of the President still in office. The date is then fixed in consultation with it.

The Constitution establishes no rule in the course of this day: as soon as the results are known, the newly elected president must simply agree with his predecessor on the date of the inauguration day. Since 1974, the inauguration of the newly elected president has always taken place between 8 and 13 days after his election. Most often, this date coincides with the commemoration of May 8th. In the event of re-election, the nomination day must also be held no later than the last day of the official expiry of the mandate. Parades, speeches, tributes, the day is then punctuated by numerous official ceremonies that mark the beginning of the five-year term of the new President of the Republic.

The proclaimed head of state signs a certificate of investiture

The handover of power between the former and the new president is the first step of this formal day. According to the republican tradition, the first welcomes the second at the top of the steps of the Elysee Palace. They are then left alone to talk and exchange state secrets, such as access codes to the nuclear force. Once the interview is over, the new president accompanies his predecessor on the steps of the Élysée. The latter then descends alone the steps of the palace with the honors of the presidential guard.

The investiture ceremony itself then takes place. Organized in the Salle des Fetes of the Elysée, it is done in the presence of the constituted bodies of the State. A solemn march is performed by the Republican Guard Orchestra at the entrance of the new Head of State, who is accompanied by the Prime Minister and the current Presidents of both Houses of Parliament. The ceremony officially begins when the president of the Constitutional Council proclaims the result of the presidential election. This announcement then operates the transfer of power between the two presidents and marks the precise time when the mandate of the new president begins. The proclaimed Head of State then signs the investiture report and receives his presidential insignia by the Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honor, as the grand collar of the Grand Master of the Legion of Honor, before pronouncing his investiture speech. The ceremony ended, the president then went to the terrace of the Élysée Park to receive the military honors of the Republican Guard. The latter interprets the national anthem and the head of state reviews the presidential troops. At the same time, twenty-one cannon shots were fired from the Place des Invalides by the battery of honor of the artillery to greet the investiture of the new president. This tradition goes back to the Ancien Régime, and since then, only François Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac have refused that this salve takes place since they had been re-elected, in 1988 and in 2002.

Reception at the Paris City Hall

In the early afternoon, the president then goes to the Arc de Triomphe, escorted by the regiment of cavalry of the Republican Guard, where he revives the flame and lays a wreath on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. He then goes to the Hôtel de Ville where he is received by the Mayor of Paris. He then meets his municipal team as well as various personalities of the civil and political society, and signs the parchment of the city which attests its passage. Throughout the Fifth Republic, successive Presidents also sought to distinguish themselves during their inauguration day. Thus, in 1981, François Mitterrand had wanted to go to the forecourt of the Pantheon to drop a rose in tribute to Jean Jaurès, Victor Schoelcher and Jean Moulin. Similarly, during his inauguration in 1995, Jacques Chirac went in the morning to Colombey-les-Deux-Églises to pay tribute to General de Gaulle.