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By Alain Guyomarch, Peter A. Hall, Jack Hayward, Howard Machin

The new version of the best textual content on French politics brings jointly a totally new set of specially-commissioned chapters protecting Chirac's presidency, the 1997 election, the following "cohabitation," and the influence of the Jospin govt. The publication explores the effect of Europe on French policy-making, the French perspective towards globalization, and the demanding situations posed by way of unemployment, social exclusion, and institutional reform to longstanding practices of the French state.

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At the 1981 party 38 Changing Patterns of Party Competition conference at Valence, only months after the election, there were calls for more radical changes of policies and administrative personnel. In the government, factional disputes over policy choices even led to ministerial resignations, as in 1982 (Questiaux) and in 1983 (Chevenement). A party leadership competition restarted in 1984, as Mitterrand seemed too unpopular to be re-electable. This new race} however, was largely conducted by informal political 'clubs', including Rocard's Convergences, Fabius's Democratie 2000, and Chevenement's Republique Moderne.

Described as independants and moderes they prided themselves upon rejecting discipline and concentrated on resisting the extremist forces that threatened the political, economic and social status quo. It was only with the recent emergence of a more modernist, managerial and internationally-oriented Right that the economic liberalism of Guizot's 1840s call to 'Enrich yourselves by work and saving' could attract interest after its long neglect. Before then, the midtwentieth-century Gaullist capture of part of the French Right delayed the resurgence of liberal values and still remains as a factor complicating attempts to unite the French Right itself.

The electorate is less ideologically rooted, and more volatile. Although the PCF and its trade union ally, the CGT, persist in trying to give industrial disputes a wider ideological significance, they are hampered by the fact that the PCF's own decline has been (more modestly) matched by that of the CGT, so that class conflict has largely moved off the agenda. Political argument, despite desperate attempts at infusing it with ideological passion, has become concerned with incrementally more or less rather than fundamental differences of kind.

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