Cohabitation and Conflicting Politics in French Policymaking
The victory of the conservative coalition in the 1986 French parliamentary elections led the way to a sharing of executive powers between a conservative prime minister and socialist President Mitterrand. This situation of cohabitation led many to wonder if this experience would mark the end of the Fifth Republic. Yet cohabitation seemed to function, which reinforced the idea that the French institutions were efficient and adaptable to changing political situations. France would experience cohabitation on two other occasions (1993-1995 and 1997-2002), with seemingly the same effects. This study presents a radically different assessment of French cohabitations. Based on a theory that emphasizes the strategic aspects of law-making, and based on more than 40 years of law-making in France, it shows that cohabitation can lead to heightened partisan conflict and policy paralysis and discusses the conditions under which it is likely to do so. The findings cast doubt on the desirability of using the French institutional blueprint for new democracies in search of efficiency in producing political, economic and social reforms.
Lazardeux, Sébastien, "Cohabitation and Conflicting Politics in French Policymaking" (2014). Fisher Bookshelf. 42.