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The President above parties: a founding illusion of the Fifth Republic

Knapp, A. (2012) The President above parties: a founding illusion of the Fifth Republic. E-France (3). pp. 55-74. ISSN 1756-0535

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Abstract/Summary

De Gaulle, founder of the Fifth French Republic, cherished the notion that the president of the Republic could somehow stand above party politics. In many ways this belief shaped the early institutional configuration of the new Republic. Party politics, however, rapidly reached the presidency, especially with the move, under the constitutional reform of 1962, to direct election of the president. This article charts the development of France's 'political constitution' and the relationship between president and parties over the first decade of the Fifth Republic. It finds that although the presidency became the prime goal of party political competition, the (often dysfunctional) illusion of a head of state above politics continues to shape the behaviour and perceptions of French presidents.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > Modern Languages and European Studies > French
ID Code:30635
Publisher:University of Reading, Department of Modern Languages & European Studies

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