Cover A Splendid Fifty-Year Old Lady: the Fifth French Republic
series "Percorsi"
pp. 284, Brossura, 978-88-15-13389-2
publication year 2010


A Splendid Fifty-Year Old Lady: the Fifth French Republic

The Fifth French Republic has been more criticized than studied. Its founder General Charles de Gaulle, a truly charismatic leader, has been accused of unlikely authoritarian goals. Its semi-presidential institutions have been looked at with several reservations. The run-off electoral majority system has been desired and feared following purely partisan motivations. Only recently, in an ongoing debate on constitutional reforms, especially in new democracies in Central and Eastern Europe, in Asia, in Africa, the political system of the Fifth Republic has been taken into serious consideration and widely imitated. The chapters of this important and useful book, written by French and Italian experts, provide an up-to-date analysis and a solid evaluation of the Fifth Republic at fifty years of age. They show that this long-lasting Republic has functioned more than satisfactorily. It has confronted and won many challenges, for instance, alternation and cohabitation. It has produced a positive transformation of the political parties and an overall realignment of the party system. It has introduced a bipolar competition. In addition, all the data show that the Fifth Republic has made France more economically and socially modern and has preserved the grandeur that, according to de Gaulle, must be its dominant feature. The Fifth Republic, from de Gaulle through Mitterrand to Sarkozy, is most certainly a political regime that has achieved significant institutional success. It deserves to be studied and imitated.

Contents: Preface by Gianfranco Pasquino and Sofia Ventura. - Introduction: A personal view of the Fifth Republic, Yves Mny. - Part one: The Republic and its Presidents. - The presidency in the Fifth Republic. Many presidents, too many presidents?, Carlo Fusaro. - The image of the leadership in the French presidency, Donatella Campus. - Part two: The party system and its protagonists. - The socialists and the Fifth Republic, Grard Grunberg. - The gollist movement: organization, institutions, and power, Sofia Ventura. - The majority run-off electoral system and its political consequences, Gianfranco Pasquino and Sofia Ventura. - Part three: Media, communication and political culture. - Political communication in France under the Fifth Republic: professionalization, personalization or "peopolisation"?, Philippe J. Maarek. - Political culture of the Fifth Republic, political cultures in the Fifth Republic, Nicolas Roussellier. - A Republic to be imitated? Gianfranco Pasquino.

Gianfranco Pasquino is professor of Political Science at the University of Bologna. He also teaches at the Bologna Center of the Johns Hopkins.

Sofia Ventura is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Bologna, campus of Forl.