It is generally agreed that the new-style presidency is the key
institution of the French Fifth Republic in that it helps to ensure
the stability and effectiveness of the political system--something
that France has been seeking since the Revolution of 1789.
Yet, paradoxically, no comprehensive study of the French
presidential phenomenon exists. The accumulated experience of
1959-1991, extending over the terms of de Gaulle, Pompidou, Giscard
d'Estaing, and Mitterrand, begs a comparative study of their
institutional and personal roles in the political process.
Among the subjects here considered are: the pre-1958 presidency
and the ways in which practice has diverged from constitutional
provisions; the president's relations with his staff; the prime
minister and government; the political parties; parliament; and the
role of the mass media. Finally, the president's special role in
foreign and defense policy, as well as his personal projects, are
Contributing to the volume are: J. E. S. Hayward, Martin
Harrison (University of Keele), Anne Stevens (University of Kent),
Jolyon Howarth (University of Bath), Vincent Wright (Nuffield
College, Oxford), Jean-Luc Parodi, and Howard Machin (London School
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