- Preface and Acknowledgements
- List of Figures
- List of Maps
- List of Tables
- List of Text Boxes
- List of Contributors
- Introduction: Subnational Democracy in Europe: Changing Backgrounds and Theoretical Models
- The United Kingdom: Is there Really an Anglo Model?
- Ireland: Halting Steps Towards Local Democracy
- Belgium: A Tale of Regional Divergence?
- The Netherlands: Subnational Democracy and the Reinvention of Tradition
- Luxembourg: The Challenge of Inclusive Democracy in a ‘Local State’
- Germany: Varieties of Democracy in a Federal System
- Austria: From Consensus to Competition and Participation?
- Switzerland: Subsidiarity, Power‐Sharing, and Direct Democracy
- Denmark: Between Local Democracy and Implementing Agency of the Welfare State
- Finland: The Limits of the Unitary Decentralized Model
- Sweden: Party‐dominated Subnational Democracy Under Challenge?
- Norway: The Decline of Subnational Democracy?
- France: Between Centralization and Fragmentation
- Italy: The Subnational Dimension to Strengthening Democracy Since the 1990s
- Spain: The Consolidation of Strong Regional Governments and the Limits of Local Decentralization
- Portugal: Local Democracy in a Small Centralized Republic
- Greece: A Case of Fragmented Centralism and ‘Behind the Scenes’ Localism
- Malta: Local Government: A Slowly Maturing Process
- Cyprus: Political Modernity and the Structures of Democracy in a Divided Island
- Poland: Europeanization of Subnational Governments
- The Czech Republic: Local Government in the Years after the Reform
- Hungary: Remarkable Successes and Costly Failures: An Evaluation of Subnational Democracy
- Slovakia: Local Government: Establishing Democracy at the Grassroots
- Estonia: Challenges and Lessons of the Development of Local Autonomy
- Latvia: Experiments and Reforms in Decentralization
- Lithuania: Brave Enough to Implement Daring Democratic Reforms?
- Slovenia in Transition: Decentralization as a Goal
- Bulgaria: The Dawn of a New Era of Inclusive Subnational Democracy?
- Romania: From Historical Regions to Local Decentralization via the Unitary State
- European Subnational Democracy: Comparative Reflections and Conclusions
- Structure of Subnational Governments in Europe, 2007
- Subnational finances in Europe
- Trust, importance of local/regional government, and levels of corruption in Europe
- Subject Index
- Name Index
Abstract and Keywords
Pre-revolutionary France was marked largely by the attempts of the monarchy to impose central control, however, these changed at the advent of the French Revolution from 1789 to 1794. The revolution introduced the idea that the nation was no longer embodied by the monarch but by ‘the people’ and thus became largely synonymous with that of the Republic itself. For 150 years after 1789, France was under three periods of monarchy, five republics, two imperial rules, and reactionary wartime rule by the Vichy state. During these periods, there were attempts to restore monarchical and imperial forms of government as the political system of France. However, the republic became firmly embedded in the French political consciousness as a natural revolutionary form of government. This republic form of government was re-established several times over as the form of government in France and has been the political system of the nation from 1958 to the present. This article discusses the French political system with particular emphasis on the Fifth Republic. It discusses the two Acts of decentralization that have reduced the tutelage of the central state, introduced genuine territorial checks and balances, produced a degree of policy emulation across local authorities, and improved local democracy. While the institutions of French democracy contributed in a positive manner to the issue of trust in the broader polity, the French subnational government system, however, has many principal weaknesses: particularly in terms of the institutional layering and the public confusion on where the responsibility lies for delivering services. Topics included as well in this article include: local finances and public expenditure; transparency, layering, and democracy; new forms of central steering and European regulation. The article concludes with the challenges and constraints in the French political system.
Alistair Cole is Professor of European Politics at Cardiff University. He has published widely in the field of French and comparative politics.
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