This paper reinvestigates dominant executive power in France. Due to France’s historical background as a highly centralized state, local governments play a role in “consolidating” or “acting for” executive power. Even though France has encountered two waves of reforms of decentralization, executive power is still more dominant than legislative power, a characteristic of the Fifth Republic. Nevertheless, amendments to the constitution have placed the President at the center of the operations of executive power, which results in a highly “presidentialized” semi- presidential regime. Therefore, the phenomenon of executive dominance is crucial for discussions of political development in France. In reference to constitutional operations in France, most literature on constitutional research has stated the problems in Prime Minister’s role in policy-making process or Parliament’s inability to supervise executive power from the perspective of “presidentialization.” However, concerning the relation between power centralization and executive dominance, connection between legislators (many of whom held local position)and local autonomous groups, the central-local administrative structure show greater complexity in influencing dominant executive power.. Thus, the central-local relationship is a vital issue in discussing constitutional operations in France.
This paper argues that dominant executive power in France has two features. On one hand, the President is the head of both the central government and local affairs due to France’s history. On the other hand, political struggles between local executive heads and the central government as well as members of Parliament who held local positions also influence executive power and executive-legislative interactions from the bottom.
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