France is a democratic republic with a parliamentary founded on the principle of the division of powers: executive, legislative and judiciary. The Federal Republic of Germany has a democratic constitution and its constitution was elaborated in 1949 with the great West powers’ help such as the United States, Great Britain and France. Their parliamentary and democratic constitution is based on the Constitution of the United States and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789. But Germany is a federal country and differs with France by its original organization.
Firstly, what is a federal state? In fact, it is like an association of different states where the central power coordinates several departments. However, each state itself has significant autonomy. Each federated state has its own government, its own deputy chambers. After the First World War, the Weimar Republic also had a federal system. The only period without federalism was under the third Reich with Hitler in 1949. The notion of native country is very strong in every German speaking country. Indeed, the native country is more important than the nation.
In addition of being a federal country, German political system is very structured. The executive power is in the hands of the President, the chancellor and the Lander. The president is not elected by the universal suffrage and in fact, has just a representative role. The president is elected for a term of five years, not more than two terms by a federal assembly which is constituted by deputies of the Bundestag, the federal dieting and by the “Landtage” delegates. Moreover, during the French-German summits, we can see two public figures on stage; on the one hand is the German chancellor and on the other hand is the French president.
Thus in France, unlike in Germany, the President is the most important figure. The French presidential election proceeds like the legislative elections. There is then a second round if none of the candidates obtains the majority in the first round. The candidature to the presidential election obliged the candidates to obtain 500 signatures of elected people, whether they are Deputies or local Counselor. The French President appoints the Prime minister who appoints the government. The President leads the ministers’ council. The President approves or refuses to promulgate new laws or to appoint the public officials. He is the head of the national protection and has the highest power to decide to use the French nuclear or not. He is also the head of the foreign affairs, one of his most important representative roles. He can dissolve the National Assembly after consulting the Prime Minister who is the head of the National Assembly and the Senate. The German chancellor, or prime minister, is in charge of the Federal Government, is appointed by the Parliament and finally forms the Government. The Landers are elected by the universal suffrage, have their own parliament and their local government.
The French Prime Minister, appointed by the President, can recruit the ministers he wants and suggests them to the president. The prime minister exerts a strong power on the Assembly and leads the French government.
The German legislative power is the federal parliament which is constituted by two chambers: the Bundestag or the deputy chamber which is elected by the universal suffrage for four years and the Bundesrat which represents each Lander. The members of the Bundesrat are appointed by their local government. The Bundestag votes the laws, elects the federal chancellor and controls the government. Half of their deputies are directly elected by a simple majority, the other half are locally elected and have to have at least 5 five per cent in the party they are in to be represented. The Bundestag has 656 seats. The Bundesrat represents the sixteen federal Lander and is composed of sixty nine delegates appointed by the local government. Each Lander is represented by three to six delegates who can only express their opinion in a whole. When the Bundestag and the Bundesrat disagree, an arbitration committee is formed with members of these two chambers.
The French fifth Republic is a democratic and parliamentary regime. It is bicameral with the presence of the National Assembly and the Senate. Both of them form the Congress. The Senate represents regions and villages and is composed of 422 members called senators. Their term of office is very long because it lasts nine years. One third of the senators are reelected every three years. They are indirectly elected by the senator delegates. The senate discusses the laws which have been voted by the National Assembly and approves or refuses them. The senate tends to be conservative and this can explain the left parties’ toughness with their members than with the right parties.
Unlike Germany, France is a totally centralized country where the central power is in Paris. Doubtlessly, the different regions exist but hardly have autonomy because decisions are taken in Paris. This can be explained by the wishes of all the kings of France since Hugues Capet in 987, later followed by Louis XIV who all wanted to attract aristocratic people in order to watch them closely. The French revolution and then the emperor Napoleon had just strengthened the French centralization.
Despite many clashes in France, French people are more patriotic than German people. French people feel that they are the heirs of a long cultural and state tradition. They feel that they belong to an entity, the nation which is for them something stable, immutable, or even endless.
The French communist PCF (parti communiste francais) party was the second most powerful party in the West after the Italian communist party. During these last three decades, the French communist party has always had the dissenting role. Despite their high affinity with the working class, they are left out of the national government. Their role is almost only local where there is a high amount of working people.
The extremist FN (Front National) party like the National Front has always been led by one man named Jean-Marie Le Pen who is the heir of a tradition which is the extreme right. Their supporters and the extreme left have in common the basic dissatisfaction of their present governing political party. Like the leftist, the extreme right hates the ruling and political class which are for them part of the general conspiracy against people. This party dream of a fundamental change of the society. Unlike the extreme right party which is anti-individualistic and anti-Semitic, the extreme left is individualistic and anarchistic. Their ideal is a hierarchical society, strictly ordered and disciplined. This party is hardly happy because they think that their country is gnawed by virus which is composed of Jewish people, crooked politicians, selfish intellectuals, homosexuals, immigrant workers, and sick people from the HIVaˆ¦ Jean-Marie Le Pen supports the idea of xenophobia which is widespread in France because some French people are overwhelmed by a swarthy immigrants and colored people’s wave. The feeling of their powerlessness caused by this immigration is growing more and more because all these hated people have the French nationality. Jean-Marie Le Pen and his supporters want to modify the French nationality regulation, making it restrictive.
The oldest and one of the greatest parties in Germany is the SPD which is a social democrat party. This party was founded before the Second World War.
The CDU party was founded in 1945 after the Second World War for the socialist reorganization of the society. This party thinks that the Marxist socialism is the best way to come to the Christian ideals. This party is like the PSU party, they are both communist.
The FDP is a liberal politic German party founded in 1948. This party defends the basic freedom and free trades. This party is nowadays the third party of the Bundestag by their seats number which has 96 deputy seats. It is also present in five out of sixteen Lander. It is the party of the executive people, the high and middle class. The FDP has governed for 42 years in total and is now still governing after ten years of opposition.
To conclude, these two countries have slightly different political systems but they are both one of the world’s power. The Federal Republic of Germany is the most populated country in the European Union with about 80 million inhabitants since the reunification of Germany in 1990. Moreover it is the third economic power after the United States and Japan. Thus, it is an important part of the European Union like France with their economic power. France is historically one of the firmest supporters of European Integration and this has benefited French industrialization significantly.