Domestic Policy

since 1990

France 1969-1990

After the crisis of 1968, WELFARE programs were established or expanded, by President General DE GAULLE (1958-1969), then by his successor GEORGES POMPIDOU (1969-1974). In 1974, the Gaullist UDR party lost the presidency to liberal VALERY GISCARD D'ESTAING, who in 1981 was succeeded by socialist FRANCOIS MITTERAND (1981-1995). The neo-Gaullist RPR party, lead by JACQUES CHIRAC, returned to power in 1995.
Green/ecologist ideas started to spread in France in the 1970es; the French energy supply strategy, however, relies heavily on nuclear generated electricity. In the 1990es, Green party politicians were included in cabinets, where they held the position of minister of the environment. BR> The imbalance between high quality welfare programs and state revenues led to a continuous increase in taxes, which, together with stagnant growth between 1973 and 1994, resulted in the unemployment rate rising to 12 % of the economically active population, thus becoming a major societal issue. France repeatedly had to raise its revenue; one way to do so was the VALUE ADDED TAX which reached 33 %.
France remains a major economic power; agriculture traditionally contributes to her exports (cheese, wine etc.), as do high technology products often elaborated in cooperation with France's EC neighbours, such as Airbus planes, TGV high speed trains, EADS, Thompson weaponry. The Ariane spacecraft, from her base in French Guyana, launch satellites into orbit.
The French state administration, in an effort to decentralize, transferred some authority to elected regional and district assemblies, who now have responsibilities in managing schools, civil works, the environment etc. Corsica, a mediterranean island with strong cultural identity, since 1982 enjoys a near-autonomous status, with territorial assembly and executive council. Various Corsican political organizations nevertheless maintain violent opposition and action in the pursuit of Corsican independence.
Both the high unemployment rate and the presence in France of 4 million Muslims, mainly migrant workers, the majority from North Africa, led, in the 1980es, to the rise of a racist and xenophobic party, the FRONT NATIONAL. In terms of percent of votes gained it has challenged the traditional parties; nevertheless in political practise it plays a minor political role, as no lawmakers represent the party in the National Assembly, it does not preside any local assembly, it never participated in the formation of a national cabinet.

Le Point sur l'Avortement en France, from ANCIC
DOCUMENTS List of presidents, premiers, from World Statesmen by Ben Cahoon
Le mouvement ouvrier francais et les immigres apres la seconde guerre mondiale. Quelques documents, posted by AHI
REFERENCE Roger Price, A Concise History of France, Cambridge Concise Histories, 1993, pp.228-246
Article : France, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1970 pp.358-362, 1971 pp.339-342, 1972 pp.312-315, 1973 pp.311-314, 1974 pp.324-327, 1975 pp.312-316, 1976 pp.355-358, 1977 pp.356-359, 1978 pp.399-403, 1979 pp.394-397, 1980 pp.392-396, 1981 pp.393-397, 1982 pp.392-395, 1983 pp.389-392, 1984 pp.390-394, 1985 pp.526-529, 677-678, 1986 pp.521-523, 674-675, 1987 pp.492-495, 643-644, 1988 pp.448-450, 595-596, 1989 pp.449-451, 596-597, 1990 pp.465-467, 611-612 [G]
Article : France, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1970-1971 pp.900-918, 1975-1976 pp.915-933, 1976-1977 pp.924-943, 1978-1979 pp.457-476, 1979-1980 pp.459-477, 1980-1981 pp.458-476, 1981-1982 pp.462-480, 1983-1984 pp.469-487, 1984-1985 pp.468-485, 1985-1986 pp.470-486, 1986-1987 pp.474-490, 1987-1988 pp.479-495, 1988-1989 pp.481-497, 1989-1990 pp.484-500, 1990-1991 pp.483-498 [G]
Article : France, in : The World in Figures 1st ed. 1976 pp.221-224, 2nd ed. 1978 pp.221-224, 4th ed. 1984 pp.221-224 [G]
Article : France, in : Americana Annual 1970 pp.299-306, 1971 pp.302-306, 1972 pp.294-299, 1973 pp.304-308, 1974 pp.255-259, 1976 pp.257-260, 1988 pp.243-246, 1989 pp.238-242, 1990 pp.235-240 [G]
Article : France, in : Yearbook on International Communist Affairs 1976 pp.131-143 (Milorad Popov), 1980 pp.139-153 (Nicholas Tandler) [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on March 30th 2007

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