France: Enduring Notables, Weak Parties, and Powerful Technocrats

Marcus Kreuzer and Ina Stephan

in The Political Class in Advanced Democracies

Published in print December 2003 | ISBN: 9780199260362
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191601873 | DOI:
 France: Enduring Notables, Weak Parties, and Powerful Technocrats

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French politicians became skilled political entrepreneurs much earlier than their European counterparts, but their professionalization was shaped by the fact that it took place within a centralized state bureaucracy characterized by a strong anti-republicanism. As a result of the bureaucracy’s various obstructionist tactics, disciplined political parties developed very slowly, thereby delaying the professionalization of certain aspects of parliamentary and electoral politics. Until today, the cumulation of national with (sometimes several) local mandates is a common way to live off politics in France. The image of a corrupt political class has intensified since the end of the 1980s, but ensuing reforms were for the most part a reaction to public pressure and not so much results of an explicit reformist intention.

Keywords: anti-republicanism; centralized state; Fifth Republic; France; local mandates; notables; political class; scandals; technocrats; weak parties

Chapter.  8694 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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