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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

Chapter 2France

Robert Elgie

france
France
  • Introduction
  • The Fifth Republic in Context
  • The political institutions of the Fifth Republic
  • Political parties in France
  • France’s European policy
introduction
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
the fifth republic in context
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
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
Presidents in the Fifth Republic (1959-2005)
  • 1959-69 Charles de Gaulle (gaullist)
  • 1969-74 Georges Pompidou (gaullist)
  • 1974-81 Valéry Giscard d’Estaing (centre-right liberal)
  • 1981-95 François Mitterand (socialist)
  • 1995- Jacques Chirac (gaullist/centre-right)
periods of cohabitation
Periods of cohabitation

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

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

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

the wider french state
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
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’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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