The Parliament of France

The Parliament of France

The Parliament of France

The Parliament of France

Excerpt

It is natural that during its first years, a new regime should be subjected to criticism, even if the latter be carried to excess. The Fourth Republic is no exception to this rule. But it is precisely in such a situation that one should remember the British precept: "Wait and see". So long as tradition has not, so to speak, made its imprint on the letter of the law, it is futile--as the working of the Constitution of 1875 has clearly shown--to judge a political system only by the texts in which it is given legal definition.

Mr. Lidderdale's work, which, when read by the friends of France in England, cannot but exercise a favourable influence on Franco-British understanding, has the great merit of laying stress on French parliamentary tradition. The psychology and the habits of the French deputy are indeed as important as rules of procedure, however necessary the latter may be. They are even more important. One can safely foretell that any future constitutional reform will be significant and effective only to the extent that it conforms to the deeper realities of political custom.

Hence I do not feel that I am mistaken in trusting to time to play its part. Certain tendencies, in appearance hostile to present parliamentary practice, are, at bottom, but expressions of impatience, and the need for the exercise of control by an elected Parliament is a fundamental axiom which no Frenchman will ever reject.

That is why I believe that to describe and to explain the exact working of our parliamentary system is to help and to defend us, for we like to think that we stand to gain by being better known. Mr. Lidderdale's work has, therefore, a strong claim to the sympathy of the old French Parliamentarian who signs these lines, and its author to his gratitude.

EDOUARD HERRIOT, Mayor of Lyons, President of the National Assembly.

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