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France Government

    Country name:
    conventional long form: French Republic
    conventional short form: France
    local long form: Republique Francaise
    local short form: France

    Data code: FR

    Government type: republic

    Capital: Paris

    Administrative divisions: 22 regions (regions, singular—region); Alsace, Aquitaine, Auvergne, Basse-Normandie, Bourgogne, Bretagne, Centre, Champagne-Ardenne, Corse, Franche-Comte, Haute-Normandie, Ile-de-France, Languedoc-Roussillon, Limousin, Lorraine, Midi-Pyrenees, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Pays de la Loire, Picardie, Poitou-Charentes, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, Rhone-Alpes
    note: metropolitan France is divided into 22 regions (including the "territorial collectivity" of Corse or Corsica) and is subdivided into 96 departments; see separate entries for the overseas departments (French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Reunion) and the overseas territorial collectivities (Mayotte, Saint Pierre and Miquelon)

    Dependent areas: Bassas da India, Clipperton Island, Europa Island, French Polynesia, French Southern and Antarctic Lands, Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island, New Caledonia, Tromelin Island, Wallis and Futuna
    note: the US does not recognize claims to Antarctica

    Independence: 486 (unified by Clovis)

    National holiday: National Day, Taking of the Bastille, 14 July (1789)

    Constitution: 28 September 1958, amended concerning election of president in 1962, amended to comply with provisions of EC Maastricht Treaty in 1992; amended to tighten immigration laws 1993

    Legal system: civil law system with indigenous concepts; review of administrative but not legislative acts

    Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

    Executive branch:
    chief of state: President Jacques CHIRAC (since 17 May 1995)
    head of government: Prime Minister Lionel JOSPIN (since 3 June 1997)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the suggestion of the prime minister
    elections: president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term; election last held 23 April and 7 May 1995 (next to be held by May 2002); prime minister nominated by the National Assembly majority and appointed by the president
    election results: Jacques CHIRAC elected president; percent of vote, second ballot—Jacques CHIRAC 52.64%, Lionel JOSPIN 47.36%

    Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of the Senate or Senat (321 seats—296 for metropolitan France, 13 for overseas departments and territories, and 12 for French nationals abroad; members are indirectly elected by an electoral college to serve nine-year terms; elected by thirds every three years) and the National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (577 seats; members are elected by popular vote under a single-member majoritarian system to serve five-year terms)
    elections: Senate—last held 27 September 1998 (next to be held September 2001); National Assembly—last held 25 May-1 June 1997 (next to be held NA May 2002)
    election results: Senate—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—RPR 99, Centrist Union 52, Republicans and independents 47, PS 78, PCF 16, other 29; National Assembly—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—PS 245, RPR 140, UDF 109, PCF 37, PRS 13, Ecologists 8, MDC 7, LDI-MPF 1, FN 1, various left 9, various right 7

    Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Appeals or Cour de Cassation, judges are appointed by the president from nominations of the High Council of the Judiciary; Constitutional Council or Conseil Constitutionnel, three members appointed by the president, three members appointed by the president of the National Assembly, and three appointed by the president of the Senate; Council of State or Conseil d'Etat

    Political parties and leaders: Rally for the Republic or RPR [Philippe SEGUIN]; Union for French Democracy or UDF (coalition of PR, FD, RAD, PPDF) [Francois BAYROU]; Parti Republican or PR [Alain MADELIN]; Democratic Force or FD [leader NA]; Socialist Party or PS [Francois HOLLANDE]; Communist Party or PCF [Robert HUE]; National Front or FN [Jean-Marie LE PEN]; The Greens [Jean-Luc BENNAHMIAS]; Generation Ecology or GE [Brice LALONDE]; Citizens Movement or MDC [Jean Pierre CHEVENEMENT]; National Center of Independents and Peasants or CNIP [Oliver d'ORMESSON]; Radical Socialist Party or PRS (previously the Left Radical Movement or MRG) [Jean-Michel BAYLET]; Movement for France or LDI-MPF [Philippe DEVILLIERS]; Mouvement des Reformateurs [Jean-Pierre SOISSON]; Mouvement Ecologiste Independant [Jenevieve ANDUEZA]; Parti Populaire Pour la Democratie Francaise or PPDF [Herve de CHARETTE]; Parti Radical [Thierry CORNILLET]; Adherents Directs [Pierre-Andre WILTZER]; Centrist Union [leader NA]; Republican Party [leader NA]; La Droite [Charles MILLON]; National Front-National Movement [Bruno MEGRET]

    Political pressure groups and leaders: Communist-controlled labor union (Confederation Generale du Travail) or CGT, nearly 2.4 million members (claimed); Socialist-leaning labor union (Confederation Francaise Democratique du Travail) or CFDT, about 800,000 members (est.); independent labor union or Force Ouvriere, 1 million members (est.); independent white-collar union or Confederation Generale des Cadres, 340,000 members (claimed); National Council of French Employers (Conseil National du Patronat Francais) or CNPF or Patronat

    International organization participation: ACCT, AfDB, AsDB, Australia Group, BDEAC, BIS, CCC, CDB (non-regional), CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECA (associate), ECE, ECLAC, EIB, EMU, ESA, ESCAP, EU, FAO, FZ, G- 5, G- 7, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, InOC, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MINURCA, MINURSO, MIPONUH, MONUA, MTCR, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, SPC, UN, UN Security Council, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNIKOM, UNITAR, UNMIBH, UNOMIG, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WEU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC

    Diplomatic representation in the US:
    chief of mission: Ambassador Francois V. BUJON DE L'ESTANG
    chancery: 4101 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20007
    telephone: [1] (202) 944-6000
    FAX: [1] (202) 944-6166
    consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, and San Francisco

    Diplomatic representation from the US:
    chief of mission: Ambassador Felix G. ROHATYN
    embassy: 2 Avenue Gabriel, 75382 Paris Cedex 08
    mailing address: PSC 116, APO AE 09777
    telephone: [33] (1) 43-12-22-22
    FAX: [33] (1) 42 66 97 83
    consulate(s) general: Marseille, Strasbourg

    Flag description: three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), white, and red; known as the French Tricouleur (Tricolor); the design and colors are similar to a number of other flags, including those of Belgium, Chad, Ireland, Cote d'Ivoire, and Luxembourg; the official flag for all French dependent areas

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)