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Will the French Fifth Republic be able to survive this July 7?



Long before any results came out of the ballot boxes on July 7, the international press was already seriously asking itself: the Ve Will the Republic survive the political crisis triggered on June 9 by the dissolution of the National Assembly decided by Emmanuel Macron?

The Country picks up this question which occupies international commentators, astonished observers of French political life.France is faced, whatever the result, with another question. How did we get to this point which leads France, whatever the winner, to an unprecedented situation in the constitutional regime of the Fifth Republic?e Republic ? ” writes the correspondent of the Spanish daily, Marc Bassets.

The twilight of the Ve Republic ?

For his part, Europorter directly asks the question: are we witnessing the “Twilight of the Ve Republic ? ” while the latter had been able to show its ability to adapt to the course since October 4, 1958. For the European title, this is the real scale of Emmanuel Macron’s bet:

“He not only bet all his money – his presidency and his legacy – on the outcome of legislative elections that he did not have to call, he bet the Ve Republic itself.”

Even astonishment, this nagging “How did we get here ? ”, from Robert Tombs’ side in the columns of Telegraph. According to this emeritus professor of French history at St John’s College, Cambridge, the gesture of dissolution decided to general surprise, after the victory of the National Rally in the European elections, revealed “the fragility of a system“policy that”relied on historical factors to survive”.

And for the British academic, the Ve French Republic may not survive” After “the reckless bet” by Emmanuel Macron. The latter, who wanted “clarify“the situation, on the contrary risks confusing it a little more.

A Constitution tailored for de Gaulle and against parliamentary instability

France, Robert Tombs recalls, has nevertheless experienced institutional instability: since 1789, the country has gone through three monarchies, two empires, five republics and 15 Constitutions. Far from the legendary British constitutional stability which can boast of a Constitution which since 1688 has known how to evolve, but has never ended. And since then, French institutional life has swung between “the constant struggle between freedom and order”, which resulted in an alternation of power between the left and the right.

Because, Robert Tombs further analyses in The Telegraph, Emmanuel Macron, well before the dramatic turn of June 9, had led “a strange centrist-populist insurrection” who has “gutted the old parties“, which had structured French political life since 1958. France therefore finds itself with two extremes and a hollow center.

The Ve The Republic was supposed to reassure a people still worried about their own ability to agitate politically, by telling them that there was someone in charge. This is no longer the case.

Emmanuel Macron, who wanted “clarify“The situation following the European elections is likely to test a Constitution marked by a man, General de Gaulle, and historical events, the Algerian War. The Constitution of October 4, 1958 was thus carried and shaped by de Gaulle, the British academic recalls. It was he who put an end to the ultra-parliamentarianism that characterized the IVe Republic, and the governmental instability that resulted from it. Institutions therefore tailor-made for de Gaulle, who intended to make the President of the Republic a figure above partisan quarrels.

The institutions born will then be a “Unprecedented hybrid of left and right – an elected republican monarchy“which also aimed to put an end to the political instability born of the Algerian war. A semi-presidential regime which notably reduced the powers of Parliament.

A return to strong parliamentarianism?

The international press is therefore lost in conjecture, trying to find in the texts of the Ve republic different possible scenarios. For The SpectatorThe biggest blunder of the Ve Republic” could lead to a major institutional crisis with a desperate and cornered Macron declaring a “state of emergency” and arrogating to himself the full powers conferred on him by Article 16 of the Constitution.

For his part, The New Left Review explores an extreme scenario, recalling some speculations that in the event of a Parliament without an absolute majority Emmanuel Macron would resign and use a controversial interpretation of Article 6 of the Constitution to seek a new presidential mandate. “But such a coup would be extremely risky.”the magazine immediately qualifies.

For his part, The Economist prognosis “a VIe French Republic“, a possible parliamentary fragmentation that could place France in a situation of ungovernability. A possible hypothesis since the dissolution of June 9 also revealed a “hyperpresidentialism” of the Fifth Republic. In this hypothesis, a “VIe Republic” would restore the parliamentarianism characteristic of France during the third and fourth republican stages.

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