French Politics and Algeria: The Process of Policy Formation, 1954-1962

By William G. Andrews | Go to book overview

3
Parties and Interest Groups

PUBLIC OPINION can be profiled in a rough way by public opinion surveys. Its intensity can be measured to a certain extent by newspaper coverage. Editorial opinion reflects it and perhaps molds it somewhat. But it is diverted into and expressed in constitutional channels largely through the instrumentalities of parties and interest groups. These organizations take raw public sentiment, give it form through their own structures (perhaps changing it a bit in the process) and bring it to bear on the constitutional organs of government. In de Gaulle's Republic he registers, reflects, reacts to, and influences public opinion in much the same manner as parties and interest groups. However, he attempts to communicate with the opinion of the entire French population, whereas by their nature, parties and interest groups carve out much narrower niches for themselves. The Gaullist manner of popular communication is treated in Chapter 6. Here, our concern is to illuminate the role of parties and interest groups.


PARTIES

Volume of Activity

There is a great deal more popular party activity in France than in the United States or even in Great Britain. Other than the quadrennial national conventions of the two major American parties there are no plenary party assemblages in the United States. Even the national committees meet--in almost complete obscurity--only to settle campaign debts and handle other purely housekeeping chores. They have very little political significance. In Great Britain the three national parties hold annual con-

-32-

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French Politics and Algeria: The Process of Policy Formation, 1954-1962
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • I - The Context of the Problem 1
  • 2 - Public Opinion and the Press 16
  • 3 - Parties and Interest Groups 32
  • 4 - Elections and Referenda 46
  • 5 - The Political Executive: The Fourth Republic 67
  • 6 - The Political Executive: The Fifth Republic 92
  • 7 - The Legislature: The National Assembly Of the Fourth Republic 135
  • 8 - The Legislature: The National Assembly Of the Fifth Republic 164
  • 9 - Conclusion 180
  • Epilogue 189
  • Chronology 205
  • Glossary and Abbreviations 209
  • Index 213
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