Government and Politics of France

Government and Politics of France

Government and Politics of France

Government and Politics of France

Synopsis

The Government and Politics of France 4th Edition continues to provide students with a comprehensive and incisive introduction to the intricacies of French politics and government. Written by two leading authorities on the subject, this widely used textbook has been fully revised and up-dated to take into account the many changes that have occurred since the last edition was published. Coverage includes: * French political traditions * constitution and the Fifth Republic * the executive * the Parliament * parties and the party system * the Administration * interest groups * local politics * the impact of the EU.

Excerpt

‘You’ll be doing all the work, so don’t bother to put my name on the cover. This is the last wish of a dying man - the ultimate form of blackmail!’ Thus the injunction delivered, with a rather unsettling laugh, by Vincent Wright as we discussed the revision of his book a few weeks before his death from cancer in July 1999. There was never any chance that I would follow it. This is still, to a great extent, his book. The overall structure is largely his. He wrote significant parts of the first and last chapters, which are new. The other chapters build on the structures and the material of earlier editions. My task of revision was a constant dialogue with a great scholar who left us far too soon and whose work deserves to stand for a very long time.

Yet the revisions, which we planned and I implemented, have been on a large scale. Events determined this. When the third edition was prepared, ‘cohabitation’ between a president and a prime minister of opposed political camps could still appear as a temporary interruption to a normal pattern of presidential power. The rise of the Front National was still a recent event. Decentralisation had barely taken root. While the economic U-turn of March 1983 had demonstrated the limits to France’s economic independence, the manner in which the effects of globalisation and Europeanisation would be diffused through the whole political system, from the executive to interest groups, from parties to regions, from parliament to the administration, was still largely unforeseen. The transformation of relations within the executive necessitated a major restructuring of the relevant chapters, for the prime minister can no longer be treated, as was still possible in the third edition, as the ‘other executive’, normally a secondary player next to the president. The roles of France’s two executives are so closely interlinked, and in such complex ways, that it seems appropriate to discuss the two in parallel throughout. A similarly large restructuring has transformed Chapter 9, where the interplay between the tendencies to bipolarity and fragmentation within France’s party system has been given a more synthetic treatment than would have been possible in the former framework.

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