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France is the first continental country to adapt constitutionalism and liberalism ... France always wanted to be independent of the United States and wanted the ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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  • 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
  • France is the first continental country to adapt
    constitutionalism and liberalism
  • In terms of nationalismCultural 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.

The Revolution of 1789
  • Great effort was made to destroy the political
    privileges of the titled and aristocratic
  • 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

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

Interruption of Republic
  • It was interrupted by Petain between 1940 to
  • Marshall Philippe Petains 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

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
  • The class system and particularly the division
    between bourgeois and worker has long affected
  • France is traditionally Roman Catholic, but also
    was fiercely anticlerical in the nineteenth and
    early twentieth centuries ???

  • The attempt to restore the monarchy in the 1870s
    was viewed partly as an effort of the
    ChurchTherefore, 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

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

Trade Unions (Workers Unions, Other Unions)
  • The Confederation Generale du Travail (CGT),
  • The Confederation Francaise des Travailleurs
  • The Confederation Francaise Democratique (CFDT)

  • 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

  • Gaullists and Socialists
  • The Right and Center
  • The Extreme Right (attacks against immigrants)
  • The Left (Socialist Party, The Greens and
    Communist Parties)

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 countrys
  • 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.

  • 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
  • Chairmanship of the council of ministers
  • Chairmanship of the high councils of the armed
  • The right to send messages to the National
  • Ratification of treaties, after parliamentary
  • The power of pardon
  • Dissolves Parliament
  • 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

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)

The Semi-presidential Character of the Fifth
  • Political system of Fifth Republic is
  • The president remains an arbiter rather than an
  • 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 presidents 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)

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.

  • 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

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
  • 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

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
  • 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

  • Issues in France include unemployment, crime and
    urban violence, the consequences of being a
    member of the European Union (EU), and political
  • Since the new immigration of other groups to
    France, Frances 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

  • Michael J. Sodaro, Comparative Politics, A Global
    Introduction, Second Edition
  • Michael Curtis , Western European Government
    and Politics, Second Edition
  • http//