France, it may surprise you to learn, in many ways has a functioning government. As a number of Frenchpersons prepare to vote in next spring’s Presidential election, I thought it prudent to buff up on the workings of the French government.
The French consitution, an unwieldy document, is unhelpfully published in that recalcitrant tongue. Undeterred, I have prepared the following summery of the Gallic political landscape, so that members can enjoy the upcoming spectacle from an informed vantage point.
The current French nation styles itself “the Fifth Republic”, in this way paying homage, or hommage as they foppishly say, to the four republics, three kingdoms, two empires and one Nazi-collaborationist quasi-ruling body which preceded it.
The French constitution was enacted in the 1950’s and is amended once a fortnight. It provides for the election of a President, and a Parliament. The President or President, is elected for the remainder of his life, plus five years. His major function is to execute legislation, to appoint a Cabinet and to surrender to Germany.
The current President, the late M. Chirac, died some time in 2002, when his refusal to participate in military action (anywhere) was met with thanks by both Britain and America.
There are three contenders to assume the office of President, they are, in no particular order:
M. Nicolas Sarkozy, the former head of the French secret police and current French Home Secretary. M. Sarkozy is famous for hating M. Chirac and derives most of his power-base from people who also hate M. Chriac. M. Sarkozy is also known to favour capitalism, free-market economics and to think that perhaps, just maybe, the French over-subsidise agriculture. Just a tad.
Miss. Marie Ségolène Royal, the Socialist party candidate, is running a campaign based on three key messages: 1) She is a Socialist. 2) Everyone else, especially her own party, is a pack of backward chauvinist pigs (cochons chauvanist en arriere). 3) She is rather pretty for her 54 years. Miss Royal seems to have no trouble in making points 2 and 3 at the same time.
M. Jean-Marie Le Pen runs the French version of the National Front. His main platform is to drive all Muslims, and Algerians generally, in to the sea or le mare.
The RCC would hardly condescend to form an opinion on the candidates, nor could it really care less who claims sovereignty of that most swarthy of peoples. Our hope is that members and guests will enjoy the coming hi-jinks in the next few months.