FRENCH POLITICS GUIDE
French System of Government: Republic
France is a Republic, in which the President of France is head of state and the Prime Minister of France is the head of government, and the country has a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in the government, Senate and National Assembly. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.
Since the 1789 French Revolution, the political spectrum in France has obeyed the left-right distinction. However, due to the historical association of the term droite ("right") with monarchism, conservative or right-wing parties have tended to avoid officially describing themselves as representing the "right wing."
French politics were dominated by extremism and instability during much of the 20th Century (the Fourth Republic was basically ended by a military
coup in 1958, and sickle-and-hammer imagery is still used by at least one significant minor party today, well into the 21st Century). Charles de
Gaulle created a powerful Presidency with the Fifth Republic, a Presidency described as an "elected monarchy" which dominates French politics to
this day. Major French officeholers are often members of broad coalitions derived from mergers of more extreme organizations of the past.