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Tnis wouldn't be constitutionnal chaos: it's what we call cohabitation, and we (that's a french we) are quite used to it.
by Xavier in Paris on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 11:15:57 AM EST
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In case of Le Pen winning the elections, I'm much more worried by the people who would like to demonstrate aqgainst the result, because it would surely lead to a police repression with some deaths (police is very pro Le Pen in France). And people agaisnt Le Pen are still quite numerous (something around 60% who thinks she is unfit for power)
by Xavier in Paris on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 11:17:52 AM EST
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As for the police being right-wing : it's not as simple as that (though a majority of uniformed cops certainly are). But not strictly relevant : in my observation, the police hierarchy obey the minister of the Interior (not the President).

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 11:58:11 AM EST
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Thinking it through : Legislative elections follow the elecion of Le Pen, and give some sort of three-way split between left, right, and FN. A non-FN cohabitation government would have to be "UMPS" (a favourite catch-phrase of the FN : UMP, PS, all the same).

Quite different to the cohabitations under Mitterand or Chirac, much more conflictual. Le Pen could dissolve the Assembly after a year (the constitutional minimum). The danger is that, after a year of powerless posturing and foreign-policy adventures, the voters give her a parliamentary majority the second time.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 11:55:57 AM EST
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Well, there wouldn't be "powerless adventures" because in the french constitution the government decides almost everything.

What gives our politics their flavour of monarchy is just the fact that the governement is choosen by the prez' and that we are used to it. It's not implemented in the text and we had various episodes when this was true (the last being probably between 2005 and 2007 when chirac was physically unable to preside).

by Xavier in Paris on Wed Feb 11th, 2015 at 12:01:59 PM EST
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Bear in mind that the President defines foreign policy and decides military matters.

This led to some squabbles under previous cohabitations, as I recall, but ended with governments backing off. It was actually no big deal (stuff like who represents France at a NATO meeting), because there is disappointingly little difference between PS and UMP in either domain.

This will be very different under a Le Pen cohabitation. Which is why I foresee both foreign adventures and constitutional crisis. Imagine, for example, a unilateral declaration by President Le Pen of a withdrawal from the Schengen area.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 06:56:10 AM EST
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It's not completely true: the president is leading the armed forces when engaged: he has the final say in using nuclear weapons. But he does not decide all military matters. He has to consult the parliament in case of declaration of war (unlikely) or in case of foreign intervention (mali type). He is completely helpless in choosing the size and organisation of armed forces. He has no power to decide which treaties are to be signed...and ratified.

And he has to sign the laws passed by his government. It's an obilgation, even if he could delay them a litle. The french constitution is a lot less presidential than what is usually considered. It's just that, after the III and IV republic regimes, we sort of collectively choose a more presidential regime over the situation that prevailed before. And even this consensu is being modified in the last years, as more and more people ask for a return to IV republic era mechanisms.

by Xavier in Paris on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 10:15:03 AM EST
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