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Book Notes Government And Politics Of France (Knapp & Wright) Notes

Politics Notes > Politics - Comparative Politics - Semi-Presidentialism Notes

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Government and Politics of France Notes Chapter 3

- de Gaulle
- Desire for national independence a product of complete reliance on British and American allies for French liberation (p.68)
- Also served domestic end - diversion from internal squabble (p.68)
- Not a vulgar dictator "as shown by the readiness, indeed brusqueness, with which de Gaulle left office twice2 (p.68)
- "Even at his final defeat, he was still backed by a higher percentage of the voters than have supported any British prime minister since the war2 (p.68)
- Pompidou
- Never even held elective office before becoming Prime Minister in 1962, but forged a Gaullist majority to win three elections (p.69)
- Saw "material prosperity as the key to social stability" (p.70), more orthodox rightwing that de Gaulle but still with a focus of spreading the benefits of the capitalist growth to every household
- Giscard
- "Record is a contrast between early reformism and late conservatism" (p.71)
- Societal reforms of first year and authoritarian police and criminal evidence legislation in the last
- Suffered less favourable economic conditions (oil shocks, see parallel with other leaders: Callaghan 1979, Carter, 1980)
- Elected on a reform programme but his majority support in the National Assembly was based on strict right-wing politics
- "Condemned to follow the increasingly conservative instincts of a cantankerous majority" (p.71)
- Conclusion
- "Each president has sought to, as put by Mitterand and Thucydides, 'go to the limits of his power' but every Presidency to date has ended in public disenchantment or physical diminution" (p.84)
- Presidents steadily less successful in achieving their goals due to increased constraints:
- Public opinion less inclined to be led from the front
- Constraints of European polity
- Globalisation
- Sharing the mantle of national leadership under cohabitation

Chapter 4

- Allocation of political resources between president and prime minister
- "Political legitimacy is first and foremost a presidential resource" (p.96)
- Also he is always the national leader
- Chirac's response to 9/11 and the Kosovo war in 1999 despite cohabitation

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