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France Assemblee NationalelPhoto: Freepenguin CC 3.0 Unported no changes made
Under the 1958 constitution, France is a parliamentary republic whose president has extensive powers as head of state. The president has been directly elected by the people by universal suffrage for seven years since 1962. In 2002, the President of France will be elected for a term of five years instead of the current seven years.
The President enacts laws passed by Parliament or by the people (in case of referendum), signs the decisions of the council of ministers he presides appoint the prime minister and, in an emergency, can take over the whole of the legislative and executive power and declare the dissolution of the National Assembly.
The president can even replace the prime minister if he so wishes , except when there is a so-called "cohabitation" in the government. This only occurs when the composition of the National Assembly is such that the president is forced to appoint a prime minister of a different political color from his own. After the elections of June 1, 1997, this situation arose when the neo-Gullist president Chirac ruled the country together with a cabinet and a Prime Minister Jospin, who were of leftist nature. The cooperation between Chirac and Jospin went pretty smoothly for the first four years.
The government, led by the prime minister, is proposed and appointed by the president. The government defines and implements the general policy of the country and is accountable to the National Assembly.
Text constitution of FrancePhoto: Erasoft24 CC 1.0 Generic no changes made
Legislative power is exercised by the parliament, which consists of two chambers. The National Assembly (Assemblée Nationale) has 577 members, 22 of which are from overseas departments and territories. The Assemblée is elected for five years through a district system. The senate is mainly elected by the members of the "conseils généraux", the departmental councils, and by the municipal councils.
The senate has much less powers than the Assemblée and has 321 members, of whom 12 representatives of the French abroad and 13 for the overseas departments and territories. Senate members are elected for nine years and the senate is renewed for a third every three years. The President of the Senate is the second highest office holder in the country after the President.
All French citizens aged 18 and over have the right to vote and to be elected to the Assemblée must be at least 23 years of age and for the Senate 35 years. Women have only been entitled to vote since 1944.
Parliamentary and presidential elections take place in two rounds. If the candidate manages to obtain more than 50% of the vote in his constituency in the first round of the parliamentary elections, he is immediately elected. If he does not succeed, a second round follows in which a simple majority is sufficient. A precondition for the parliamentary elections is that the candidate has obtained at least 12.5% of the vote in the first round.
In the presidential election, only two candidates who obtained the most votes in the first round can participate in the second round round. The current political situation in France is described in the chapter history.
France Administrative DivisionPhoto: Public domain
The French state has 22 regions, which are divided into 96 departments. The country also has: four overseas departments, the "Départements d'Outre-Mer" (DOM): French Guyana, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Réunion; three overseas territories, the 'Territoires d'Outre-Mer' (TOM): French Polynesian, the Wallis and Futuna-islands and New Caledonia; the two overseas 'collectivités territoriales' Mayotte and St-Pierre-en-Miquelon and some areas of the South Pole, "Les Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises (TAAF). The prefect is in charge of each region and department and is the representative of the government and of each individual minister.
The departments are divided into arrondissements (325), headed by a sous-prefet, the arrondissements are divided into cantons (3714), which in turn are divided into 36,433 municipalities. Approx. 90% of the municipalities have less than 2000 inhabitants.The arrondissements and cantons have only administrative significance.
The Ardèche is one of eight departments of the Rhône-Alpes region. In France, all departments are alphabetically numbered and the Ardèche has been assigned number 07.
The current area of the Ardèche roughly corresponds to the province of Vivarais of the French Revolution. The Ardèche exists from the three arro ndissements Largentière, Privas and Tournon-sur-Rhône. The three arrondissements of the Ardèche consist of 33 cantons, which in turn comprise a total of 339 municipalities. The capital or prefecture of the Ardèche department is Privas, Tournon-sur-Rhône and Largentière are sub-prefectures.
Cantons of the Ardèche
Overview cantons department ArdèchePhoto: Public domain
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Graaf, Gjelt de / Auvergne, Ardèche
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