French presidentialism and the impoverishment of democracy


President Emmanuel Macron on Friday replaced Édouard Philippe as his prime minister with the appointment of a senior civil servant, Jean Castex. It is yet another example of the excesses of the all-powerful presidential system in France, writes Mediapart publishing editor Edwy Plenel in this op-ed article, whereby a demonetized president can, alone, change a government for his own political convenience. In an intelligent and adult democracy, he argues, such changes would come about through the debate and collective choices of a parliamentary majority.

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Every pedagogue knows that teaching is about repetition. At Mediapart we never tire of repeating that, under Emmanuel Macron today, like under Nicolas Sarkozy and then François Hollande before him, French presidentialism is the fundamental enemy of a democratic and social republic, such that it endlessly saps it from the inside, corrupting and weakening it.