The Fifth French Republic: Presidents, Politics and Personalities

The Fifth French Republic: Presidents, Politics and Personalities

The Fifth French Republic: Presidents, Politics and Personalities

The Fifth French Republic: Presidents, Politics and Personalities

Synopsis

This study provides an original introduction to modern French politics and history, focusing specifically on the five presidents spanning from 1959 to the present; de Gaulle, Pompidou, Giscard d'Estaing, Mitterand and Chirac.

Excerpt

Technically, seven men have held office as president of the Fifth French Republic: René Coty, Charles de Gaulle, Alain Poher, Georges Pompidou, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, François Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac. This book deals only with the five to have been elected under the Constitution adopted by referendum on September 28, 1958. They are Charles de Gaulle, Georges Pompidou, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, François Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac.

René Coty had been elected president of the Fourth Republic on December 23, 1953. He remained in office after the referendum of September 28, 1958 had approved the proposed Constitution of the Fifth Republic, which he promulgated on October 4. Charles de Gaulle was elected president on December 21, 1958, and formally took over from René Coty on January 8, 1959.

On April 27, 1969 it was announced that de Gaulle’s proposals on regionalisation and the reform of the Senate had been rejected by referendum. De Gaulle immediately resigned, and did not therefore complete the second seven-year mandate to which he had been elected on December 19, 1965. the president of the Senate, Alain Poher, acted in accordance with Article 7 of the Constitution of 1958 and took over the role of president on a temporary basis. He stood as a candidate in the presidential election of June 1 and June 15, 1969, but was defeated in the second round. On June 20, he handed over the presidency to Georges Pompidou.

On April 2, 1974, Pompidou died in office. Unlike the Constitution of the United States of America, the Constitution of the Fifth French Republic has no office of vice-president, one of whose responsibilities it is to take over in the event of the president’s death, and remain in office until the next scheduled presidential election takes place. Alain Poher therefore once again became president on a temporary basis, but was not a candidate in the presidential election of May 5 and May 12,

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