FRANCE. One of the most modern countries in the world and a leader among European nations. (EU)It has constructed a presidential democracyGovernment type is RepublicWritten Constitution: It was amended for several reasons (The constitution now in effect was written in 1958)Chief of State; Pr
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2. FRANCE One of the most modern countries in the world and a leader among European nations. (EU)
It has constructed a presidential democracy
Government type is Republic
Written Constitution: It was amended for several reasons (The constitution now in effect was written in 1958)
Chief of State; President (Nicolas Sarkozy), Head of Government; Prime Minister (Francois Fillon who was appointed by President), Cabinet; Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the suggestion of Prime Minister, Elections; President elected by popular vote for a five-year term (Executive)
Bicameral parliament consists of the Senate and National Assembly (Legislative)
Supreme Court of Appeals, Constitutional Council, Council of State (Judicial)
Currency is Euro, 2002
Richest country in the world, but has a great instability (Until the fifth Republic set up by Charles de Gaulle in 1958, created a presidential-parliamentary form of Government))
Political unrest is more deeply embedded in the culture of the country, in its history, and in many of its structures, especially the administrative structure
Traditional authoritarianism vs. liberal democracy
France is the first continental country to adapt constitutionalism and liberalism
In terms of nationalism…Cultural pride helps to explain the peculiar relationship between France and Soviet Union. France always wanted to be independent of the United States and wanted the Western nations to be more independent.
4. The Revolution of 1789 Great effort was made to destroy the political privileges of the titled and aristocratic classes.
The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen detailed the expectations of French Citizens to be given basic freedoms and to be granted justice on the basis of the law
French Revolution also threatened anciens regimes in much of the rest of Europe
Routed the monarchy, the aristocracy, and the privileged Roman Catholic Church in the name of liberty, equality, and the republican form of Government
5. French Republicanism and Its Elements The expression of the public will through a sovereign and directly elected assembly
A society free from the institutionalized influence of the Church, distrust of executive authority as a threat to freedom, against which the people had an obligation to rise when and if any tyranny appeared imminent
6. Interruption of Republic It was interrupted by Petain between 1940 to 1944.
Marshall Philippe Petain’s authority derived from the German victory over France, not from the will of the French People.
It is also called Vichy Regime or Vichy France since it was a Nazi puppet regime in France during World War II.
Vichy Regime symbolized what was anti-republican in French life
The resistance was organized under the leadership of Charles De Gaulle
7. The Characteristics of Social Order French population has peasant origins (The agricultural sector of France is important, both economically and politically)
France is geographically and linguistically divided
The class system and particularly the division between bourgeois and worker has long affected lifestyles
France is traditionally Roman Catholic, but also was fiercely anticlerical in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries ???
8. … The attempt to restore the monarchy in the 1870s was viewed partly as an effort of the Church…Therefore, Anticlericalism spread among supporters of the Republic
Religion has led to major social and political problems in French history.
In 1905, partly in response to the Dreyfus Case, Parliament passed a law separating church and state!!!
9. Interest Groups The target of group attacks is often the state, and the typical approach is still to ask the state to meet the demands or to force private employers to make concessions
Trade Unions, Business Org., Farmers’ Organizations, Other Groups
The primary source of Political Information in France is television
10. Trade Unions (Workers’ Unions, Other Unions) The Confederation Generale du Travail (CGT),
The Confederation Francaise des Travailleurs Chretiens(CFTC)
The Confederation Francaise Democratique (CFDT)…
11. … The fifth Republic began in 1958 with an anti-interest-group bias.
Accumulation of grievances exploded in May and June 1968
Since then, leaders of the Fifth Republic have been more cautious and have developed CONSULTATION as a means of addressing grievances
The Government sees group protest as a valid expression of interest
12. PARTIES Gaullists and Socialists
The Right and Center
The Extreme Right (attacks against immigrants)
The Left (Socialist Party, The Greens and Communist Parties)
13. … The Constitution of 1958 was introduced to strength the executive
De Gaulle was convinced that chronic instability was one of the major causes of the decline of France
He based his cure on constitutional remedies
He proposed neither a revamped cabinet system nor a presidential system, but plumped for a hybrid system giving marked preponderance to the executive
Hybrid System divides executive authority into two sharply distinct segments
The president has the somewhat lofty and almost undefinable task of looking after the long-term interests of the nation; the Government headed by the prime minister, is in charge of the country’s affairs
This raises two main problems; first, there is a large gray area of divided responsibility. Because the constitution does not define sectors for the president and the prime minister, clashes between the two are likely. Second, while the president appoints the prime minister, the prime minister needs the support of the legislature. There is, therefore, potential for conflict when the parliament and the presidency are controlled by different parties.
14. President President of Republic is elected for seven years, but a constitutional amendment passed in 2000 reduced the term to five years
Appointment of the prime minister and of the ministers on the proposal of the prime minister
Promulgation of laws voted by parliament (President may ask parliament to reconsider a law within two weeks of its having been voted, but he has no power of veto)
Signature of regulations (decrees), but these must have been approved by the council of ministers
Chairmanship of the council of ministers
Chairmanship of the high councils of the armed forces
The right to send messages to the National Assembly
Ratification of treaties, after parliamentary approval
The power of pardon
Assumes emergency powers under article 16
Decides whether or not to submit a bill to popular referendum when the Parliament or the Prime minister suggest it
15. Prime Minister Premier (Prime Minister) leads the Government
Has the power to implement the laws
Responsible for national defense
Makes a number of important appointments (He alone was designated by the chamber; he alone appointed the rest of the cabinet)
16. The Semi-presidential Character of the Fifth Republic Political system of Fifth Republic is half-presidential
The president remains an arbiter rather than an actor
Under de Gaulle and Pompidou, Prime ministers and individual ministers initiated policies with the president of the Republic being seemingly neutral (Social and economic problems)
Cohabitation: 1986 general election brought about for the first time a parliamentary majority different from that of the president’s party (Divided Government)
Example: 1986-2002, cohabitation (president and Government being from opposite political blocs) occurred during 9 years out of 16. (1986-1988, 1993-1995, 1997-2002)
17. Parliamentary Organization Parliament is composed of two chambers, the National Assembly and Senate
The National Assembly is elected for five years
The Senate is elected for nine years
The bicameral legislature consists of a National Assembly of 577 members, elected for five years by all citizens over 18, and a Senate of 331 members selected by an electoral college of 150,000 municipal council representatives, and departmental and regional councilors.
18. Legislation A bill debated in the French Parliament goes through different steps
After having been laid on the table of either chamber by a member of that chamber or by the government, the bill is sent to a committee which then reports to the house
The house discusses the bill first in general, then clause by clause, and votes on each clause
A final vote is then taken, at which point the bill goes to the other house, which follows the same procedure
If both houses agree on the same text, the bill is sent to the president for promulgation
19. Constitutional Council It includes nine members appointed in equal numbers by the president of the Republic and the speakers of the two chambers
It also includes the ex-presidents of the Republic
The council was set up in 1958 principally as a means of ensuring that parliament did not over-step its powers; it thus has to approve the standing orders of both houses
It was entitled to assess whether laws were in conformity with the constitution, then it became gradually a supreme court
It became more independent and started to rule that bills or parts of bills were not in conformity with the constitution
20. France and EU Mitterrand (4th president of 5th republic) was markedly more realistic than his predecessors about the need for France to concentrate on European affairs (because of the economic difficulties, social problems unemployment)
Jacques Delors was the architect of the single market policy and, indirectly, of the Economic and Monetary Union, which led to the adoption of the single European Currency
French commitment to Europe remains somewhat ambiguous
While Joschka Fischer, the Green German foreign minister under Schroder, stressed the need to move toward a federal system, Jospin, the Socialist French minister, repeated that the Union had to be a Union of Nations
21. … Issues in France include unemployment, crime and urban violence, the consequences of being a member of the European Union (EU), and political corruption.
Since the “new immigration” of other groups to France, France’s second religion is now Islam, with approximately 4.5 million followers.
The French also make use of national referendums to decide certain questions in the Fifth Republic
22. Bibliography Michael J. Sodaro, Comparative Politics, A Global Introduction, Second Edition
Michael Curtis &…, Western European Government and Politics, Second Edition