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La France. Political system Actors and institutions Political culture. Un Peu D’Histoire. Pre-Revolution Revolution Regimes since Revolution 5 republics 3 monarchies 2 empires 1 fascist puppet state Regime instability. Encore d’Histoire. 1st Republic (1792-99) popular sovereignty

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la france

La France

Political system

Actors and institutions

Political culture

un peu d histoire
Un Peu D’Histoire
  • Pre-Revolution
  • Revolution
  • Regimes since Revolution
    • 5 republics
    • 3 monarchies
    • 2 empires
    • 1 fascist puppet state
  • Regime instability
encore d histoire
Encore d’Histoire
  • 1st Republic (1792-99)
    • popular sovereignty
    • Declaration of the Rights of Man
    • inauguration of more secular power
  • 2nd Republic (1848-52)
    • universal male suffrage
    • election of President by popular vote
  • 3rd Republic (1875-1940)
    • disestablishment of the church
    • executive made responsible to Parliament
encore plus d histoire
Encore plus d’histoire
  • Republicanism - the default system
  • But enduring pre-republican patterns
  • Tradition of political change combined with socio-cultural conservatism
the 4th republic 1946 58
The 4th Republic (1946-58)
  • End of WWII - republicanism dominant credo
  • but conflict about form
  • constitution eventually agreed (hated by de Gaulle)
  • lack of strong executive
  • President as figurehead
  • Prime Minister chosen by and responsible to legislature
4th republic problems
4th Republic - Problems
  • No coherent or stable majorities
  • 25 governments in 12 years
  • civil servants more influential than politicians (technocratic)
  • But some good points …
  • However, French generals not happy …
  • And then there was Algeria
the 5th republic 1958 today
The 5th Republic (1958 - today)
  • A coup d’état?
  • How different from 4th Republic?
  • Much stronger executive (quasi-monarchical?)
  • Plebiscitary features
  • Reacting to different circumstances
la constitution
La Constitution
  • Popular election of President
  • Strong Presidential powers
  • Incompatibility of cabinet office with parliamentary mandate
  • Referenda
  • Traditional Republican features
  • Constitutional adaptation relatively easy
l tat
L’État
  • Unitary
  • Democratic
  • Republic
  • Elected President
  • Strong executive
  • Traditionally centralised administration
le syst me politique
Le Système Politique
  • The President
  • The Prime Minister
  • Parliament
  • The National Assembly
  • The Senate
  • Sub-state territorial government
l ex cutif
L’Exécutif
  • Dual Executive
    • President
    • Prime Minister
  • Cohabitation
  • Powerful
  • Assisted by powerful and prestigious bureaucratic élite
la l gislature
La Législature
  • 5th Republic different from 4th
  • National Assembly
  • Rules of procedure
  • Bills
  • Accumulation of mandates
  • Not the centre of French political life
  • Senate
  • Conservative
  • Limited power
les faiblesses du parlement
Les Faiblesses du Parlement
  • Weak Parliament?
  • 5th Republic - paradoxical position
  • Constitutional reduction of powers from 4th Republic
  • executive power not to emanate from Parliament
  • restrictions in legislative competence
  • Government sets agenda and timetable
  • Committee structure weakened
  • Financial powers constrained
  • Limited power to force government from office
  • Government able to legislate by decree
les faiblesses cont
Les Faiblesses (cont.)
  • Extra-Constitutional weaknesses:
  • Prime Ministers treat Parliament with disdain
  • Too much work
  • Deputies frequently indifferent to Government abuse of power
  • Debates not well attended
  • Scope of policies considered limited
  • Lack of effective, coherent opposition
c est pour quoi le parlement
C’est pour quoi, le Parlement?
  • Rubber stamp executive decisions?
  • Taken for granted?
  • Senate can be hostile (especially to Left)
  • Amendments are increasing
  • Parliamentary Commissions do expose wrongdoing
  • Parliament may submit laws to Constitutional Council if unhappy
les partis et les elections
Les Partis et les Elections
  • Elections
  • President
  • National Assembly
  • Senate
la gauche et la droite
La Gauche et La Droite
  • Political Parties
  • Long history of left and right
  • Parties or political families?
  • Left/right poles fragmenting?
  • The Left
  • The Right
  • The Extreme Right
  • Others
la culture politique
La Culture Politique
  • Étatisme - state centrality
  • Dirigisme - state managed capitalism
  • Nationalism
  • Rural outlook?
  • Protectionist?
  • Long tradition of democracy
  • but flaws in democratic behaviour?
les traits fran ais g rard mermet
Les Traits Français ? (Gérard Mermet)
  • taste for comfort
  • instinct for private property
  • collective laziness
  • hexagonal vision of reality
  • penchant for abstraction
  • admiration for the intellectual
  • the sanctification of the national past
  • orientation towards the local
  • concern with aesthetics
  • immobility and fear of outsiders
plus a change
Plus ça change ?
  • Increasing societal cynicism?
  • Change in political activism
  • A demystification of the state?
  • French exceptionalism
  • Or are political attitudes and behaviour increasingly resembling those of other W Europeans?