THE INSTITUTIONAL REFORM OF THE FIFTH REPUBLIC (Reforma instytucji V Republiki)
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The issue of institutional reform has been permanently discussed since the establishment of the Fifth Republic, but over recent years it has gained topicality with the shortening of the term of office of the President of the Republic from seven to five years. The main purpose of that change was to avoid cohabitation, consisting in the existence of divergence between the presidential and parliamentary majorities. At the same time, cohabitation has contributed to a considerable strengthening of the presidential nature of the French political system. It is held that adjustment of this system should be accomplished by strengthening the powers of Parliament and specifying, in more detail, the scope of power of the President. There is agreement regarding this goal, but divergence remains as to the way of its accomplishment. Some propose to establish a presidential system and claim that such system in fact already exists, others opt for a genuine parliamentary system. The role of relations between the President of the Republic and Prime Minister is also emphasized and the opinion expressed that it is only by the improvement of the status of the latter that adverse aspects of supremacy of presidential rule could be reduced. It is also held that giving more prerogatives to the Constitutional Council would allow it to better protect fundamental rights of legal entities and to reinforce its function of arbiter between individual authorities. It does not seem that there is need for a thorough reorganization of the institutional system. To improve its functioning, slight constitutional modifications will suffice, but they should be accompanied by a change in the attitudes of politicians.
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