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Chapter 2 France

Chapter 2 France

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Chapter 2 France

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  1. Chapter 2France Robert Elgie

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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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)

  7. 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)

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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