FRANCE
Officially: République Française.
Seat of government: Paris.
Status: Democratic.
Structure: The president is elected directly, and directs the government. The parliament (parlement) comprises the Assemblée Nationale, elected in geographical constituencies, and the Sénat, chosen by a collective of government officials at all levels. The prime minister is chosen by the president with the consent of the Assemblée Nationale.
Chief governing party: En Marche!.
Heads of government: Emmanuel Macron, EM, president (since 2017); Édouard Philippe, LR, prime minister (since 2017).
Chief opposition parties: Les Républicains (originally ‘Union pour la Majorité Présidentielle’, later interpreted as ‘Union pour un Mouvement Populaire’), led by Nicolas Sarkozy; Parti Socialiste; Front Nationale, led by Marine Le Pen.
Assessment: France as a whole retains an imperial mentality towards its former colonies, and has historically pursued self-interest at the cost of great injustice, but has also, over the longer history, been a key force for liberalism. The electorate swung dramatically to the right in the 2002 presidential and parliamentary elections; the former included a strong showing for extremist Jean-Marie Le Pen of the FN (father of Marine), then defeated in a runoff by incumbent Gaullist Jacques Chirac (1995-2007). A 2007 election to replace Chirac saw 85% turnout, and set up a runoff between Sarkozy of the UMP (the Gaullist party) and Ségolène Royal of the PS, won by Sarkozy (2007-12). Subsequent parliamentary elections saw a drop in support for the UMP and an increase for the PS. In 2012, the presidential runoff was between François Hollande (2012-7) of the PS and Sarkozy; subsequent parliamentary elections led to an absolute majority for the PS. The 2017 presidential election saw both the socialists and Gaullists fail to make the runoff; Macron, an electoral novice leading a new centrist party, finished first, and defeated the FN’s Marine Le Pen in a runoff.
FH: 1-1, free. Econ: 8.07 (24), full democracy.
Updated: 2017 May 15.
 

O.T. FORD