The Review of a Democracy: France

Topic: Political Ideologies
Words: 1377 Pages: 5


France is a world-renowned fashion and cuisine mogul. This country is also one of the biggest players on the international stage. It is rightfully considered the political heart of Europe due to the high cost France paid during its Civil War and the two consequent world wars (Djuve et al. 926). Over the years, France was involved in a series of conflicts around the colonization of several African areas. The majority of past colonies attained by France are now independent (for instance, Algeria) (Brégain 157). France was picked for the current review because it had mounted the pillars for further European integration and participation in international relations. The country’s democratic, high-level political, and socioeconomic challenges outline the future of the French republic in the modern era.

Political Regime

France can be rightfully considered the cradle of modern democracy. The current French government, for instance, functions in line with the Constitution of the Fifth Republic that was passed in 1958. The French hybrid political system enacts both a parliamentary democracy and a republic, with the President and the Prime Minister being the head of the government (Langer et al. 157). The bicameral setup of the French Parliament is reflected by the National Assembly and the Senate in the lower and the higher chambers, respectively. Despite relatively similar access to authority, the National Assembly possesses more governmental power in terms of decision-making and policy deployment (Maroy et al. 114). The French government mainly focuses on education, healthcare, and public transport when enacting legislation.

Key Socioeconomic and Civil Challenges

The essential challenge that still has to be addressed by the French government is the existence of inconsistencies in the party system. One of the core reasons revolves around the policymaking process and the willingness of the President to step away from conventional politically aware practices (Brouard et al. 909). A thoughtful reconstruction of the political system could provide the government with a reasonable advantage revolving around the participation of citizens in the country’s political life. The President’s movement and the traditional political institutions have been weakened over time, forcing parties to take on mediatory roles to support further development. Without a renewed political force, France will be facing even more challenges related to the polarization of parties and their antagonistic detachment.

Another problem that cannot be avoided when discussing France is the lack of reforms in the public sector. Bureaucratic limitations and legacy approaches to unemployment, for instance, caused the government to fail several times in a row while trying to build up the efficiency of public service facilities (Brouard et al. 904). Despite crucial improvements in the field of public transportation, France is still under the influence of postponed policies that leave no room for improvement. With some of the required reforms meeting fierce resistance among the government officials, it may be hard to predict the future of the French public sector. Local administrations are doing everything to reduce the cost and complexity of proposed solutions, as public investments have to be re-evaluated in accordance with the long-term objectives.

The most important source of socioeconomic and political issues for France is the government’s reluctance to alter its integration model. This idleness generates plenty of gaps in the areas of immigration, national security, and social cohesion (Flamant 1989). The past effectiveness of political parties, education, and trade unions as elements of the integration process cannot be achieved in the 21st century. Terrorist attacks and the lack of investments in urban development cause the government to focus on the wrong things and leave some of the communities marginalized in the face of political challenges. Despite exerting efforts in the areas of finance and education, the French government failed to mitigate poverty and increase local employability. Therefore, the present situation can be outlined as a borderline societal division where political frustrations have led to a national identity crisis.

A Detailed Assessment of French Democracy

The majority of bills that are currently passed by the French government are in line with the concepts of liberalization, as they relate to a wide range of measures that appeal to the public. Societal choice plays an important role because additional conditions have to be followed in order for organizations and individuals to benefit the most from their liberties and opportunities (Langer 187). This is a significant update to the country’s economy since most implications are going to affect the strongest monopolies, mediating their impact on the respective industries. The concept of neoliberalism may be included here since the new bills on the regulation of business functioning encourage pacification and collaboration. In other words, French politics interfere with the economic state of affairs but only to an acceptable limit (Brouard et al. 913). Additional regulations are passed regularly, but an inclination toward liberal values seems to have a positive effect on France and its economy.

Despite the fact that the concept of presidential will remains one of the core factors affecting the current French politics, democratization still has a constructive influence on how the government interacts with businesses and citizens. The limitations of the country’s economy are long-standing and will not be removed overnight, making it safe to say that the President and the parliamentary majority are required to pass laws that appeal to the opposition (Djuve et al. 933). For instance, the French government could negotiate a relevant reform for pensions while paying enough attention to opposition parties and their take on the situation. In the case where parties remain polarized, the Third Wave of democracy will be put in danger across the whole country. The lack of constitutional opportunities should not avert the government from passing new legislation aimed at further democratization (Onasch 505). If the President fails to engage in a constructive debate, it will also lead to dreadful consequences.

Another exceptional element of the country’s politics that has to be considered is the presence of unique electoral and party systems. All the exceptions that affect French legislative elections have to be explained by the lack of empirical evidence despite a prolonged history of the country’s democracy. The core element that makes the electoral system so unique is its two-round nature that relies on the mechanical effects of the election process (Langer 188). Nevertheless, larger parties tend to remain superior to their smaller counterparts due to the psychological impact of the difference between them. This also reinforces the idea that the French party system is rather disproportional and does not always reflect the needs and wants of the majority. This basically hinders democracy and exposes the government to a scenario where alliances could be formed to put smaller parties at a significant disadvantage.

Ultimately, France is affected by institutionalism and constructivism to a certain extent. It represents an assembly of manageable government bodies that require high-quality oversight and constant access to vital resources. To establish a stronger presence, the French government could decentralize some of its public expenditures and see if the share of sub-national entities would increase as a result (Reiter and Kuhlmann 260). This is where an institutional reform would validate the need for change and retrace public expenditures. As for the notion of constructivism, the French government should come up with principles that would give fewer trump cards to the Parliament. This would eventually protect individuals and businesses from being unable to access labor unions or other means of speaking out.


The case of local French democracy shows how proper stimulation of participatory processes could enhance the quality of political innovations. With citizen contribution, the French government could go beyond the most popular institutionalized forms of participation and strengthen policymaking methods via long-term agendas. The overall level of readiness among the government officials and society members hints at the fact that the possibility of meeting expectations could become the best experience for all actors involved. The President should capitalize on the meaning of democracy and lead the French toward a meaningful political regime where radical experiments are timely and reasonably designed. Citizen participation will extend the meaning of democracy for France and alter the ways in which the government assesses its policymaking efforts. As the cradle of European democracy, France would have the foresight to explore and invent while leaving no one beyond the poverty line, marginalized and unsupported.

Works Cited

Brégain, Gildas. “Colonialism and Disability: The Situation of Blind People in Colonised Algeria.” Alter, vol. 10, no. 2, 2016, pp. 148-167.

Brouard, Sylvain, et al. “Do Party Manifestos Matter in Policy-Making? Capacities, Incentives and Outcomes of Electoral Programmes in France.” Political Studies, vol. 66, no. 4, 2018, pp. 903-921.

Djuve, Vilde Lunnan, et al. “Patterns of Regime Breakdown since the French Revolution.” Comparative Political Studies, vol. 53, no. 6, 2020, pp. 923-958.

Flamant, Anouk. “The Local Turn in Integration Policies: Why French Cities Differ.” Ethnic and Racial Studies, vol. 43, no. 11, 2020, pp. 1981-2000.

Langer, Melanie, et al. “System Justification in France: Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité.” Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, vol. 34, 2020, pp. 185-191.

Maroy, Christian, et al. “Vernacular Globalisations: Neo-Statist Accountability Policies in France and Quebec Education.” Journal of Education Policy, vol. 32, no. 1, 2017, pp. 100-122.

Onasch, Elizabeth. “Framing and Claiming “Gender Equality”: A Multi-level Analysis of the French Civic Integration Program.” Gender & Society, vol. 34, no. 3, 2020, pp. 496-518.

Reiter, Renate, and Sabine Kuhlmann. “Decentralization of the French Welfare State: From ‘Big Bang’ to ‘Muddling Through’.” International Review of Administrative Sciences, vol. 82, no. 2, 2016, pp. 255-272.

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