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Book Notes French Politics, Debates And Controversies (Elgie & Griggs) Notes

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French Politics: Debates and Controversies Notes
− Framework of the French executive
− Constitutional position of the executive
− Executive control of the legislature
− Due to aim of reinstating the authority of the executive
− Article 34: Restricts parliament's ability to legislate in certain areas by setting out the 'domain of law' (p.27)
− Article 38: Government can ask parliament to allow it to legislate by ordinance (p.27)
− Article 40: Forbids deputies from proposing amendments which affect the budget position
− Article 42: Obliges parliament to begin the legislative debate by considering the government bill rather than a revised version
− Article 43: Restricts the number of committees to just six
− Compare to Nicolas Owen's comments on the UK system where there is trading and debate between select committees and government resulting in the exertion of influence (in some degree) of parliament over policy-making
− If the committees of France are too unwieldy, then it serves to follow that they will be able to exert less influence over policy
− Article 49-3: Allows the government to pass a text without a vote, unless an absolute majority of deputies in Parliament pass a motion of no confidence in the government
− Clear effect of subjugating the legislature to the executive (p.27)
− Keeler: Governments declared a bill to be urgent 571 times (1959-1991) and requested the right to legislate by ordinance 24 times. Article 49-3 used 73 times in the same period to pass 38 pieces of legislation. (p.28)
− Williams: "the Parliament of France, once among the most powerful in the world, became one of the weakest" (p.28)
− Shared powers of both the president and the prime minister
− "While the Constitution takes power from legislature, there is a more subtle distribution of power" (p.28)
− In favour of prime minister:
− Article 20: Gov decides and directs policy of the nation, it has the administration and the armed forces at its disposal, it is accountable to the lower house of parliament, the National Assembly
− Article 21: Prime Minister is head of the government and personally responsible for national defence
− Article 21: In addition, the Prime Minister has the right to issue decrees in the areas in which parliament is not permitted to regulate
− "Constitution places the Prime Minister at the head of a government, the members of which he or she has chosen and which is collectively responsible for the day-to-day realisation and implementation of public policy" (p.28)

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