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Unformatted text preview: Comparative Government Friday, November 03, 2006 – Monday, November 06, 2006 - Part 3 Read the Economist and the New York Times if you want to study Comparative Politics Why France? 1. Model of discontinuous democratic development is not always evolutionary as in Britain, but a matter of abrupt change in regime and the consequence of revolutionary change. 2. France political development is a classic pattern of regime change. 3. French politics is a model of a specific institutional arrangement called the presidential – parliamentary system. (semi-presidential regime) a. Other semi-presidential systems : Russia, Algeria, Egypt, the countries bordering on the old Soviet Union. Modern French Politics In its edition of October 28 th , 2006, The Economist, described France as the “sick man of Europe” Several factors make up this description: • Sluggish economic performance and chronically high rates of unemployment • Ethnic tensions that have not been resolved since the riots of November 2005 • Disillusionment with President Jacques Chirac who has been criticized as a weak leader of less than honest reputation • Obstacles to economic reform, which commentators trace to a French hostility to globalization, which the French argue is responsible to the deterioration in the French quality of life (sacrificing a humane society on the altar of global competition). CIA world fact book Geographic area: 547,030 sq km (2x colorado) Location: western Europe Climate: cool winters, mild summers, along the Mediterranean Sea, hot summers, mild winters Arable land: 33% Permanent crops: 2% Permanent pastures: 20% Forest and woodlands: 27% Religion: Roman Catholics 83-85%; protestant 2%; Jewish 1%; Muslim 5-10% Literacy: 99% GDP per capita: US$ 27,600 GIni index of inequality: 32.7 Economic sectors: Last constitution: 1958, amended in 1962 direct election for President, (get info from CIA factbook) Why are the attitudes of French and American political leaders so contentious? Is it because the two are so different in history and culture Examples of contention • French President Jacques Chirac views France and the European Union as a political counter- weight to US. Leadership in world affairs • Chirac refused to support Iraq war • As far back as the 1960s the then President Charles de Gaulle treated American leaders with noticeable disdain. De Gaulle declared that France would develop nuclear weapons independently of the US and de Gaulle led France out of NATO. Decisive collaboration • French military assistance turned the tide of the American Revolution. With the aid of capable officers such as Lafayette and Rochambeau, Washington was able to maneuver his army with greater effect. The French navy blockaded the British forcing the surrender of the British army at Yorktown in 1781....
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