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The Presidentialization of PoliticsA Comparative Study of Modern Democracies$
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Thomas Poguntke and Paul Webb

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199252015

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199252017.001.0001

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Dyarchic Presidentialization Dyarchic Presidentialization in a Presidentialized Polity: in a Presidentialized Polity: The French Fifth Republic

Dyarchic Presidentialization Dyarchic Presidentialization in a Presidentialized Polity: in a Presidentialized Polity: The French Fifth Republic

(p.221) 10 Dyarchic Presidentialization in a Presidentialized Polity: The French Fifth Republic
The Presidentialization of Politics

Ben Clift

Oxford University Press

Begins by charting the emergence and evolution of the Fifth Republic, identifying the key structural and contingent causes of presidentialization within the French political system. The ambiguity inherent in the 1958 constitution as to where power lay within the French ‘dual executive’, successfully exploited by De Gaulle, established presidential precedents that overstepped the constitutional brief. Having shaped the nature of party competition into a bipolarized pluralism opposing electoral blocs on Left and Right, political and electoral presidentialization also changed the nature of the parties themselves, both organisationally, and in their relationship to the state. This section explores the extent to which leader focus in media reporting, and leader focus in political campaigning styles, continue to presidentialize the internal organization of parties in France. Candidates needed both critical distance from parties, and a secure link to party resources and coalition-constructing potential. Analysis then turns to the impact of presidentialization on French electoral processes. The leader focus in media reporting and leader focus in political campaigning styles are placed in the context firstly of the evolving relationship between the media and the Presidency since 1958, and secondly of radical deregulation, commercialization, and increased competition within the French audio-visual sector in recent decades.

Keywords:   Bicephalous French Executive, De Gaulle, electoral presidentialization, Fifth Republic, French party system, institutional logic, party organization, political presidentialization, presidential majority, presidential party

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