Constitution of France
The current Constitution of France was adopted on 4 October 1958. It is called the Constitution of the Fifth Republic, replaced that of the Fourth Republic dating from 1946. Charles de Gaulle was the main driving force in introducing the new constitution and inaugurating the Fifth Republic, while the text was drafted by Michel Debré. Since the constitution has been amended twenty-four times, through 2008; the preamble of the constitution recalls the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen from 1789 and establishes France as a secular and democratic country, deriving its sovereignty from the people. It provides for the election of the President and the Parliament, the selection of the Government, the powers of each and the relations between them, it ensures judicial authority and creates a High Court, a Constitutional Council, an Economic and Social Council. It was designed to create a politically strong President, it enables those associated with the European Union. It is unclear; the Constitution sets out methods for its own amendment either by referendum or through a Parliamentary process with Presidential consent.
The normal procedure of constitutional amendment is as follows: the amendment must be adopted in identical terms by both houses of Parliament must be either adopted by a simple majority in a referendum, or by 3/5 of a joint session of both houses of Parliament. However, president Charles de Gaulle bypassed the legislative procedure in 1962 and directly sent a constitutional amendment to a referendum, adopted; this was controversial at the time. Prior to 1971, though executive and judicial decisions had to comply with the general principles of law, there were no such restrictions on legislation, it was assumed that unelected judges and other appointees should not be able to overrule laws voted for by the directly elected French parliament. In 1971, a landmark decision by the Constitutional Council cited the preamble of the Constitution and its references to the principles laid in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen as a reason for rejecting a law that, according to the Council, violated one of these principles.
Since it is assumed that the "constitutional block" includes not only the Constitution, but the other texts referred to in its preamble: The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789 The preamble of the Constitution of 1946 The Charter for the Environment of 2004Since the possibility of sending laws before the Council has been extended. In practice, the political opposition sends all controversial laws before it. In the Constitution, are written the principles of the French Republic: Social welfare, which means that everybody must be able to access free public services and be helped when needed. Laïcité, which means that the churches are separated from the State and the freedom of religion is protected. Democracy, which means that the Parliament and the Government are elected by the people. Indivisibility, which means that the French people are united in a single Unitary sovereign State with one language, the French language, all people are equal; the Constitution defines in Article 89 the rules for amending itself.
First, a constitutional bill must be approved by both houses of Parliament. The bill must be approved by the Congress, a special joint session of both houses. In 1962, president Charles de Gaulle controversially submitted a bill to a referendum through another procedure defined at article 11 of the Constitution, a procedure which allows the President to hold a referendum without the consent of Parliament – see French presidential election referendum, 1962; this permitted the establishment of a popularly elected presidency, that would otherwise have been vetoed by the Parliament. Article 11 was used for constitutional changes for the second and last time in 1969, but the "No" prevailed, causing Charles de Gaulle to resign from the presidency. On 21 July 2008, Parliament passed constitutional reforms championed by President Nicolas Sarkozy by a margin of two votes; these changes, when finalized, introduced a consecutive two-term limit for the presidency, gave parliament a veto over some presidential appointments, ended government control over parliament's committee system, allowed parliament to set its own agenda, allowed the president to address parliament in-session, ended the president's right of collective pardon.
France has had numerous past constitutions. The Kingdom of France, under the Ancien Régime, was an absolute monarchy and lacked a formal constitution. Albeit, some rules were above the king: les lois fondamentales du Royaume; these rules were about the inheritance of the Crown. The king shall be the first born male catholic heir. In any case, women weren't allowed to inherite the Crown since the Treaty of Troyes. Parlement of Paris was the body. For instance Louis XIV tried by his testament to change the inheritance order; the Parlement of Paris annulled it. The Revolution
Constitutional Council (France)
The Constitutional Council is the highest constitutional authority in France. It was established by the Constitution of the Fifth Republic on 4 October 1958 and its duty is to ensure that constitutional principles and rules are upheld, it is housed in Paris. Its main activity is to rule on whether proposed statutes conform with the Constitution, after they have been voted by Parliament and before they are signed into law by the President of the French Republic. However, since 1 March 2010, individual citizens who are party to a trial or a lawsuit have been able to ask for the Council to review whether the law applied in the case is constitutional. In 1971, the Council ruled that conformity with the Constitution entails conformity with two other texts referred to in the preamble of the Constitution, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen and the preamble of the constitution of the Fourth Republic, both of which list constitutional rights; this article refers extensively to individual articles in the Constitution of France.
The reader should refer to the official translation of the Constitution on the site of the French National Assembly. Another recommended reading is the Constitutional Council overview on the Council web site; the Government of France consists of an executive branch, a legislative branch, a judicial branch. The judicial branch is, unlike for instance the federal judiciary of the United States under the Supreme Court, not organized into a single hierarchy, some of its entities have advisory functions. For historical reasons there has long been a hostility to having anything resembling a "Supreme Court"—that is, a powerful court able to quash legislation. Whether the Council is a court is a subject of academic discussion, but some scholars consider it the supreme court of France; the Constitution of the French Fifth Republic distinguishes two distinct kinds of legislation: statute law, voted upon by Parliament and government regulations, which are enacted by the Prime Minister and his government as decrees and other regulations.
Article 34 of the Constitution exhaustively lists the areas reserved for statute law: these include, for instance, criminal law. Any regulation issued by the executive in the areas constitutionally reserved for statute law is unconstitutional unless it has been authorized as secondary legislation by a statute. Any citizen with an interest in the case can obtain the cancellation of these regulations by the Council of State, on grounds that the executive has exceeded its authority. Furthermore, the Council of State can quash regulations on grounds that they violate existing statute law, constitutional rights or the "general principles of law". In addition, new acts can be referred to the Constitutional Council by a petition just prior to being signed into law by the President of the Republic; the most common circumstance for this is that 60 opposition members of the National Assembly, or 60 opposition members of the Senate request such a review. If the Prime Minister thinks that some clauses of existing statute law instead belong to the domain of regulations, he can ask the Council to reclassify these clauses as regulations.
Traditionally, France refused to accept the idea that courts could quash legislation enacted by Parliament. This goes back to the French revolutionary era: pre-revolutionary courts had used their power not to register laws and thus prevent their application for political purposes, had blocked reforms. French courts were prohibited from making rulings of a general nature, it seemed that if courts could quash legislation after it had been enacted and taken into account by citizens, it would introduce legal uncertainties: how could a citizen plan his or her actions according to what is legal or not if laws could a posteriori be found not to hold? Yet, in the late 20th century, courts administrative courts, began applying the consequences of international treaties, including law of the European Union, as superior to national law. A 2009 reform, effective on 1 March 2010, enables parties to a lawsuit or trial to question the constitutionality of the law, being applied to them; the procedure, known as question prioritaire de constitutionnalité, is broadly as follows: the question is raised before the trial judge and, if it has merit, it is forwarded to the appropriate supreme court.
The supreme court submits them to the Constitutional Council. If the Constitutional Council rules a law to be unconstitutional, this law is struck down from the law books; the Council has two main areas of power: The first is the supervision of elections, both presidential and parliamentary and ensuring the legitimacy of referendums. They issue the official results, they ensure proper conduct and fairness, they see that campaign spending limits are adhered to; the Council is the supreme authority in these matters. The Council can declare an election to be invalid if improperly conducted, or if the elected candidate used illegal methods, or if he spent for his campaign over the legal limits; the second area of Council power is the interpretation of the fundamental
Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs
The Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs is the ministry in the government of France that handles France's foreign relations. Since 1855, its headquarters has been located on the Quai d'Orsay, 37. "Quai d'Orsay" is used as a metonym for the ministry. Its cabinet minister, the Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs is responsible for the foreign relations of France; the current minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, was appointed in May 2017. In 1547, secretaries to the King became specialized, writing correspondence to foreign governments, negotiating peace treaties; the four French secretaries of state where foreign relations were divided by region, in 1589, became centralized with one becoming first secretary responsible for international relations. The Ancien Régime position of Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs became Foreign Minister around 1723, was renamed "Minister of Foreign Affairs" in 1791 after the French Revolution. All ministerial positions were abolished in 1794 by the National Convention and re-established with the Directory.
For a brief period in the 1980s, the office was retitled Minister for External Relations. As of 17 May 2017, the ministry is designated the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs and led by Jean-Yves Le Drian. There are multiple services under its authority, along with that of some other ministers. Under the authority of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, that of Cooperation and European Affairs, that of Foreign and European Affairs, there are numerous services directly related to the ministers. Here is a list of those services; the ministers' cabinet The office of cabinets, which gathers a personnel in charge of the administrative and logistics aspects of the three ministers' cabinets The budget control service General inspection of foreign affairs The prospective office The Protocole, upon which the President's protocole cell relies on The Crisis management Department 140 Ministries of Foreign Affairs on the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. Official site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Official treaty database of France Dictionnaire historique des institutions, mœurs et coutumes de la France, Adolphe Chéruel, L. Hachette et cie, 1855 "Ministries 1700–1870", Rulers.org
Court of Cassation (France)
The Court of Cassation is one of the four courts of last resort in France. It has jurisdiction over all civil and criminal matters triable in the judicial system, is the supreme court of appeal in these cases, it has jurisdiction to review the law, to certify questions of law, to determine miscarriages of justice. The Court is located in the Palace of Justice in Paris; the Court does not have jurisdiction over cases involving claims against administrators or public bodies, which fall within the jurisdiction of administrative courts, for which the Council of State acts as the supreme court of appeal. Collectively, these four courts form the topmost tier of the French court system; the Court was established in 1790 under the name Tribunal de cassation during the French Revolution, its original purpose was to act as a court of error with revisory jurisdiction over lower provincial prerogative courts. However, much about the Court continues the earlier Paris Parlement; the Court is the seat of the Network of the Presidents of the Supreme Judicial Courts of the European Union.
The Court is made up of justices, the Office of the Prosecutor, an Administrative Office of Courts. In addition, a separate bar of specially certified barristers exists for trying cases at the French Court. Overall, the Court consists of nearly 85 trial judges and about 40 deputy judges, each divided among six different divisions: First Civil Division deals with family law, child custody, professional discipline, individual rights, contractual liability Second Civil Division handles divorce and electoral matters Third Civil Division for immovable property, city planning, foreclosures Commercial Division handles companies, business and intellectual property Labor Division handles labor disputes, worker compensation, welfare Criminal Division deals with criminal casesEach division is headed by a presiding justice referred to in French as a président, or President of Division; the Chief Justice bears the title of the premier président, or President of the Court, who supervises the presiding justices of the various divisions.
The Chief Justice is the highest-ranking judicial officer in the country and is responsible for administration of the Court and the discipline of justices. The current Chief Justice is Bertrand Louvel; the Court includes 12 masters, the lowest rank of justice, who are concerned with administration. There is, in addition to the abovementioned six divisions, a separate organization known as the Divisional Court; the Divisional Court adjudicates where the subject matter of an appeal falls within the purview of multiple divisions. The Bench of the Divisional Court seats the Chief Justice and a number of other judges from at least three other divisions relevant to a given case. Any participating division is represented by two puisne judges. A Full Court is called, presided over by the Chief Justice or, if he is absent, by the most senior presiding justice, it seat by all divisional presiding justices and senior justices assisted by a puisne judge from each division. The Full Court is the highest level of the Court.
The prosecution, or parquet général, is headed by the Chief Prosecutor. The Chief Prosecutor is a judicial officer, but does not prosecute cases. Duties include filing originating motions to bring cases before the Court "in the name of the law" and bringing cases before the French Court of Justice, which tries government officials for crimes committed while in office; the Chief Prosecutor is assisted by two Chief Deputy Prosecutors and a staff of about 22 deputy prosecutors, 2 assistant prosecutors. Barristers, though not technically officers of the Court, play an integral role in the due dispensing of justice. Except for a few types of actions, advocate counsel in the form of a barrister is mandatory for any case heard at the Court or Council of State. Barristers with exclusive rights of audience and admitted to practice law in either senior court carry the title of avocat au Conseil d'État et à la Cour de Cassation, or avocats aux Conseils for short. Admission to the Supreme Court bar is difficult, requiring special training and passing a notoriously stringent examination.
Once admitted, bar members can advise litigants on whether their actions are justiciable, that is, issuable and exceeding de minimis requirements—an important service since the Court only hears appeals on points of law and not issues of fact. Membership is considered a public office; the Court's main purpose is to review lower court rulings on the grounds of legal or procedural error. As the highest court of law in France, it has other duties; the Court has inherent appellate jurisdiction for appeals from courts of appeal or, for
Elections in France
France is a representative democracy. Public officials in the legislative and executive branches are either elected by the citizens or appointed by elected officials. Referendums may be called to consult the French citizenry directly on a particular question one which concerns amendment to the Constitution. France elects on its national level a head of state – the president – and a legislature; the president is elected for a five-year term, directly by the citizens. The Parliament has two chambers; the National Assembly has 577 members, elected for a five-year term in single seat-constituencies directly by the citizens. The Senate has 348 members, elected for six-year terms. 328 members are elected by an electoral college consisting of elected representatives from each of 96 departments in metropolitan France, 8 of which are elected from other dependencies, 12 of which are elected by the French Assembly of French Citizens Abroad which has replaced the High Council of French Citizens Abroad a 155-member assembly elected by citizens living abroad.
In addition, French citizens elect a variety of local governments. There are public elections for some non-political positions, such as those for the judges of courts administering labour law, elected by workers and employers, or those for judges administering cases of rural land leases. France does not have a fully-fledged two-party system; however French politics has ordinarily displayed some tendencies characterizing a two-party system in which power alternates between stable coalitions, each being led by a major party: on the left, the Socialist Party, on the right, Les Républicains and its predecessors. This pattern was upset in 2017, when neither of those parties' candidates reached the second round of the presidential election and the newly-formed party En Marche! gained both the presidency and a comfortable majority in the National Assembly. Elections are conducted according to rules set down in the Constitution of France, organisational laws, the electoral code. Voting is not compulsory.
Elections are held on Sundays. The campaigns end at midnight the Friday before the election; the voting stations open at 8 am and close at 6 pm in small towns or at 8 pm in cities, depending on prefectoral decisions. By law, publication of results or estimates is prohibited prior to that time; the first estimate of the results are thus known at 8 pm, Paris time. It has been alleged. For this reason, since the 2000s, elections in French possessions in the Americas, as well as embassies and consulates there, are held on Saturdays as a special exemption; the next election will take place in 2022. Current President Emmanuel Macron is eligible for re-election in that year. With the exception of senatorial election, for which there is an electoral college, the voters are French citizens over the age of 18 registered on the electoral rolls. People are automatically registered on reaching the age of 18. For municipal and European, but not national elections, citizens aged 18 or older of other European Union countries may vote in France.
Registration is not compulsory. Citizens may register either in their place of residence or in a place where they have been on the roll of taxpayers for local taxes for at least 5 years, but not in more than one place. Citizens living abroad may register at the consulate responsible for the region. Only citizens registered as voters can run for public office. There are exceptions to the above rules. Convicted criminals may be deprived of their civic rights, which include the right to vote, for a certain period of time depending on the crime. In particular, elected officials who have abused public funds may be deprived of the right to run for national public office for as long as 10 years; the application of such rules in the case of certain politicians has been controversial. Voting by proxy is possible when the citizen cannot attend the polling station The citizen designates a proxy, who must be a voter from the same commune; the designation of the proxy must be made before a capable witness: a judge, a judicial clerk, or an officier of judicial police, or, outside France, before an ambassador or consul.
In the case of handicapped or ill people, an officer of judicial police or delegate thereof can be sent to the home of the citizen to witness the designation. The procedure is meant to avoid pressures on voters. In all elections where there is a single official to be elected for a given area, including the two major national elections, two-round runoff voting is used. For elections to the European Parliament and some local elect
Foreign relations of France
In the 19th century France built a new colonial empire second only to the British Empire. It was humiliated in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71, which marked the rise of Germany to dominance in Europe. France fared poorly in the Second World War, it fought losing wars in Algeria. The Fourth Republic collapsed and the Fifth Republic began in 1958 to the present. Under Charles De Gaulle it tried to block British influence on the European community. Since 1945 France has been a founding member of the United Nations, of NATO, of the European Coal and Steel Community; as a charter member of the United Nations, France holds one of the permanent seats in the Security Council and is a member of most of its specialized and related agencies. France is a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean and the La Francophonie and plays a key role, both in regional and in international affairs. François Mitterrand, a Socialist, emphasized European unity and the preservation of France's special relationships with its former colonies in the face of "Anglo-Saxon influence."
A part of the enacted policies was formulated in the Socialist Party's 110 Propositions for France, the electoral program for the 1981 presidential election. He had a effective relationship with the conservative German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, they promoted French-German bilateralism in Europe and strengthened military cooperation between the two countries. Shortly after taking office, President Sarkozy began negotiations with Colombian president Álvaro Uribe and the left-wing guerrilla FARC, regarding the release of hostages held by the rebel group Franco-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt. According to some sources, Sarkozy himself asked for Uribe to release FARC's "chancellor" Rodrigo Granda.. Furthermore, he announced on 24 July 2007, that French and European representatives had obtained the extradition of the Bulgarian nurses detained in Libya to their country. In exchange, he signed with Gaddafi security, health care and immigration pacts – and a $230 million MILAN antitank missile sale.
The contract was the first made by Libya since 2004, was negotiated with MBDA, a subsidiary of EADS. Another 128 million euros contract would have been signed, according to Tripoli, with EADS for a TETRA radio system; the Socialist Party and the Communist Party criticized a "state affair" and a "barter" with a "Rogue state". The leader of the PS, François Hollande, requested the opening of a parliamentary investigation. On 8 June 2007, during the 33rd G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Sarkozy set a goal of reducing French CO2 emissions by 50% by 2050 in order to prevent global warming, he pushed forward the important Socialist figure of Dominique Strauss-Kahn as European nominee to the International Monetary Fund. Critics alleged that Sarkozy proposed to nominate Strauss-Kahn as managing director of the IMF to deprive the Socialist Party of one of its more popular figures. Sarkozy normalised what had been strained relations with NATO. In 2009, France again was a integrated NATO member. François Hollande has continued the same policy.
Socialist François Hollande won election in 2012 as president. He adopted a hawkish foreign-policy, in close collaboration with Germany in regard to opposing Russian moves against Ukraine, in sending the military to fight radical Islamists in Africa, he takes a hard line with regard to the Greek debt crisis. François Hollande launched two military operations in Africa: Operation Serval in Mali. France was the first European nation to join the United States in bombing the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Under President Hollande, France's stances on the civil war in Syria and Iran's nuclear program has been described as "hawkish". Sophie Meunier in 2017 ponders whether France is still relevant in world affairs: France does not have as much relative global clout as it used to. Decolonization... diminished France’s territorial holdings and therefore its influence. Other countries built up their armies; the message of “universal” values carried by French foreign policy has encountered much resistance, as other countries have developed following a different political trajectory than the one preached by France.
By the 1990s, the country had become, in the words of Stanley Hoffmann, an “ordinary power, neither a basket case nor a challenger.” Public opinion in the United States, no longer sees France as an essential power. The last time that its foreign policy put France back in the world spotlight was at the outset of the Iraq intervention... France’s refusal to join the US-led coalition.... In reality, France is still a relevant power in world affairs.... France is a country of major military importance nowadays.... France showed it mattered in world environmental affairs with....the Paris Agreement, a global accord to reduce carbon emissions. The election of Trump in 2016 may reinforce demands for France to step in and lead global environmental governance if the US disengages, as the new president has promised, from a variety of policies. Polls indicate that American president Barack Obama was popular in France, but Donald Trump has been unpopular. Natalie Nougayrède argues: Yet behind this widespread revulsion lies a diplomatic opportunity.
With the United States looking inward and Trump having torn up the traditional foreign policy rule book... Macron, is se
Second Philippe government
The second Philippe government is the forty-first government of the Fifth Republic of France. It is the second government formed by Édouard Philippe under President Emmanuel Macron, following the 2017 legislative elections and the dissolution of the first Philippe government on 19 June 2017; the second Philippe government was formed following scandal among ministers during the first Philippe government. La République En Marche! allies Democratic Movement were facing scandal following allegations that the party used EU funds to pay party workers. Defense minister Sylvie Goulard was the first to step down, resigning on 20 June, 2017; the following day, Minister of Justice Francois Bayrou and European Affairs minister, Marielle de Sarnez stepped down. Richard Ferrand, Minister of Territorial Cohesion, stepped down on 19 June 2017 following Le Canard Enchaîné publishing allegations of nepotism on 24 May 2017. Macron defended Ferrand despite the allegations and public polling showing that 70% of respondents wanted Ferrand to step down.
On 1 July 2017, a regional prosecutor announced that authorities had launched a preliminary investigation into Ferrand. Ferrand responded to the allegations saying everything was "legal and transparent". Ferrand was one of the founding members of La République En Marche and is serving as general secretary for the party. On 31 July 2018 government survived two motions of no confidence following the Benalla affair: the first one obtained 103 ayes, while the second obtained 63 votes. Both motions did not reach the quorum of 289 votes required in the National Assembly. Following the yellow vests movement a motion of no confidence was initiated by the Socialist Party, the French Communist Party and La France Insoumise on 13 December 2018 but the government survived the motion as there were 70 votes in favour, falling short of the required number of 289. Deputy Ministers Secretaries of State On 24 November 2017, Christophe Castaner was replaced as Government Spokesman by Benjamin Griveaux, replaced as Secretary of State to the Minister of Economy and Finance by Delphine Gény-Stephann, while Socialist Olivier Dussopt was appointed as Secretary of State to the Minister of Public Action and Accounts.
On 28 August 2018, Nicolas Hulot announced his resignation from the government during a live radio interview on France Inter. On 4 September, Laura Flessel announced her resignation from the government, with their respective replacements announced as Francois de Rugy and Roxana Mărăcineanu. On 1 October 2018, the Minister of the Interior Gérard Collomb brings his resignation to Presisent Marcon, who refuses it, he renews his intention a few days and Emmanuel Macron accepts the resignation. President Macron asks Prime Minister Édouard Philippe to act as interim. On 16 October 2018, Christophe Castaner is appointed Minister of the Interior, which puts an end to Édouard Philippe's tenure. Marc Fesneau replaces Christophe Castaner at Relations with Parliament. Franck Riester is appointed Minister of Culture to replace Françoise Nyssen. Didier Guillaume is appointed Minister of Food in replacement of Stéphane Travert. Jacqueline Gourault is appointed Minister of Territorial Cohesion to replace Jacques Mézard and her portfolio is extended to Relations with local authorities.
Delphine Gény-Stephann is not renewed. Are appointed Secretary of State Gabriel Attal to the National Education, Laurent Nuñez in the Interior, Christelle Dubos to Solidarity and Health, Agnès Pannier-Runacher to the Economy and Emmanuelle Wargon to Ecology. In addition, several members of the government have their powers expanded. On 25 January 2019, Adrien Taquet is appointed Secretary of State for the Protection of Childhood to the Minister of Health, Agnès Buzyn. On 27 March 2019, in view of the 2019 European elections and 2020 municipal election in Paris, Nathalie Loiseau, Benjamin Griveaux, as well as Mounir Mahjoubi leave their government responsabilities, with Le Drian temporarily assuming responsibility for Loiseau's ministerial portfolio. On 31 March 2019, Amélie de Montchalin is appointed Secretary of State for European Affairs, succeeding Nathalie Loiseau. Sibeth Ndiaye is appointed succeeding Benjamin Griveaux. Cédric O is appointed State Secretary for the Digital Economy. Official announcement