Fifty years after the creation of the Fifth Republic, French politics is undergoing profound changes. The election of Nicolas Sarkozy has announced a general review of the French political system. A special committee - the comite constitutionnel - is currently drafting a catalogue of potential reforms. Debates focus on issues like presidentialization, parliamentary scrutiny of the executive or the creation of a popular initiative to trigger constitutional review of given legislative texts.
These discussions reflect long-standing trends in the Fifth Republic. This volume aims at analysing those trends and at outlining the major perspectives for future development. In particular it puts the French political system in comparative perspectives and provides in-depth analysis of the evolution of the major political institutions and their relations. The volume argues that substantial reforms have helped to partially reshape French politics. Yet, it also shows that the fundamental characteristics of semi-presidential government have stood firm. The question is whether current debates and subsequent reforms are likely to alter the current pattern.
This book was published as a special issue of West European Politics.
Emiliano Grossman and Nicolas Sauger are both senior research fellows at CEVIPOF / Sciences Po and lecturers at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris. Grossman's research concentrates on economic interest groups and political institutions. Sauger has specialised on political parties and electoral systems. Their work is published in journals like the European Journal of Political Research, the Journal of Common Market Studies, the Journal of European Public Policy, West European Politics or the Revue Francaise de Science Politique.
1. Introduction: The Institutions of the French Republic at 50 Emiliano Grossman and Nicolas Sauger 2. Duverger, Semi-presidentialism and the Supposed French Archetype Robert Elgie 3. The President's Choice? Government and Cabinet Turnover under the Fifth Republic Emiliano Grossman 4. The French National Assembly's Oversight of the Executive: Changing Role, Partisanship and Intra-Majority Conflict Sebastien G. Lazardeux 5. Party Discipline and Coalition Management in the French Parliament Nicolas Sauger 6. MPs under the Fifth Republic: Professionalisation within a Weak Institution Olivier Costa and Eric Kerrouche 7. The French Electoral System and its Effects Andre Blais and Peter John Loewen 8. The Evolution of the French Political Space and Party System Simon Bornschier and Romain Lachat 9. The Politics of Constitutional Veto in France: Constitutional Council, Legislative Majority and Electoral Competition Sylvain Brouard 10. Public Budgeting in the French Fifth Republic: The End of La Republique des partis? Frank R. Baumgartner, Martial Foucault and Abel Francois 11. The End of Ambiguity? Presidents versus Parties or the Four Phases of the Fifth Republic Emiliano Grossman and Nicolas Sauger