France by LisaB1982


									Chapter 2 France
Robert Elgie

• Introduction • The Fifth Republic in Context • The political institutions of the Fifth Republic • Political parties in France • France’s European policy

• Fifth Republic established in 1958 • 13 different Constitutions since 1789 Revolution • Sometimes regime transition has been bloody and violent – e.g. the end of the Paris Commune in 1871

The Fifth Republic in context
• Algerian independence movement undermined Fourth Republic • General Charles de Gaulle seen as potentially unifying president • De Gaulle agreed to Presidency, on the condition that a new Republic be created

The Political Institutions of the Fifth Republic
• A presidentialized system of government • France formally has a semi-presidential executive • President has a large role in French government, especially under de Gaulle • De Gaulle’s legacy has created a tradition of ‘presidential leadership’ • Under cohabitation the president’s role is greatly reduced

Presidents in the Fifth Republic (1959-2005)
• 1959-69 • 1969-74 • 1974-81 • 1981-95 • 1995Charles de Gaulle (gaullist) Georges Pompidou (gaullist) Valéry Giscard d’Estaing (centre-right liberal) François Mitterand (socialist) Jacques Chirac (gaullist/centre-right)

Periods of cohabitation
1986-88 President Mitterand (socialist) and PM Chirac (gaullist) President Mitterand (socialist) and PM Balladur (gaullist) President Chirac (gaullist) and PM Jospin (socialist)


1997 – 2002

The wider French state
• French political system traditionally viewed as highly state-centred • Power and influence of French public sector has declined • Tradition of dirigiste economic and social policy • European Union has undermined ability of French state to implement its traditional dirigiste policy • French state decentralized since 1982

Political parties in France
• Two-block, multi-party system
– Socialist-led left block (includes Communists and Greens) – Right block: Union for a Popular Majority (UMP) – National Front (FN) exists on the far-right

France’s European policy
• France was founder member of EC • Strong supporter of CAP • Mitterand was important force behind Maastricht Treaty • Lack of domestic support for further European integration • 29 May 2005: France voted against the European Constitution

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