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Chapter 2 France. Robert Elgie. France. Introduction The Fifth Republic in Context The political institutions of the Fifth Republic Political parties in France France’s European policy. Introduction. Fifth Republic established in 1958 13 different Constitutions since 1789 Revolution

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Chapter 2 France

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Chapter 2 france l.jpg

Chapter 2France

Robert Elgie


France l.jpg

France

  • Introduction

  • The Fifth Republic in Context

  • The political institutions of the Fifth Republic

  • Political parties in France

  • France’s European policy


Introduction l.jpg

Introduction

  • 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


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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


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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


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Presidents in the Fifth Republic (1959-2005)

  • 1959-69Charles de Gaulle (gaullist)

  • 1969-74Georges Pompidou (gaullist)

  • 1974-81Valéry Giscard d’Estaing (centre-right liberal)

  • 1981-95François Mitterand (socialist)

  • 1995-Jacques Chirac (gaullist/centre-right)


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Periods of cohabitation

1986-88President Mitterand (socialist) and PM Chirac (gaullist)

1993-95President Mitterand (socialist) and PM Balladur (gaullist)

1997 – 2002President Chirac (gaullist) and PM Jospin(socialist)


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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


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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


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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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