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France:
Government

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Country name
Definition
conventional long form: French Republic
conventional short form: France
local long form: Republique francaise
local short form: France
Government type
Definition
republic
Capital
Definition
name: Paris
geographic coordinates: 48 52 N, 2 20 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
note: applies to metropolitan France only, not to its overseas departments, collectivities, or territories
Administrative divisions
Definition
26 regions (regions, singular - region); Alsace, Aquitaine, Auvergne, Basse-Normandie (Lower Normandy), Bourgogne (Burgundy), Bretagne (Brittany), Centre, Champagne-Ardenne, Corse (Corsica), Franche-Comte, Guadeloupe, Guyane (French Guiana), Haute-Normandie (Upper Normandy), Ile-de-France, Languedoc-Roussillon, Limousin, Lorraine, Martinique, Midi-Pyrenees, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Pays de la Loire, Picardie, Poitou-Charentes, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, Reunion, Rhone-Alpes
note: France is divided into 22 metropolitan regions (including the "territorial collectivity" of Corse or Corsica) and 4 overseas regions (including French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Reunion) and is subdivided into 96 metropolitan departments and 4 overseas departments (which are the same as the overseas regions)
Dependent areas
Definition
Clipperton Island, French Polynesia, French Southern and Antarctic Lands, Mayotte, New Caledonia, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin, Wallis and Futuna
note: the US does not recognize claims to Antarctica; New Caledonia has been considered a "sui generis" collectivity of France since 1999, a unique status falling between that of an independent country and a French overseas department
Independence
Definition
486 (Frankish tribes unified); 843 (Western Francia established from the division of the Carolingian Empire)
National holiday
Definition
Fete de la Federation, 14 July (1790); note - although often incorrectly referred to as Bastille Day, the celebration actually commemorates the holiday held on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille (on 14 July 1789) and the establishment of a constitutional monarchy; other names for the holiday are Fete Nationale (National Holiday) and quatorze juillet (14th of July)
Constitution
Definition
adopted by referendum 28 September 1958, effective 4 October 1958
note: amended concerning election of president in 1962; amended to comply with provisions of 1992 EC Maastricht Treaty, 1997 Amsterdam Treaty, 2003 Treaty of Nice; amended to tighten immigration laws in 1993; amended in 2000 to change the seven-year presidential term to a five-year term; amended in 2005 to make the EU constitutional treaty compatible with the Constitution of France and to ensure that the decision to ratify EU accession treaties would be made by referendum
Legal system
Definition
civil law system with indigenous concepts; review of administrative but not legislative acts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage
Definition
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
Definition
chief of state: President Nicolas SARKOZY (since 16 May 2007)
head of government: Prime Minister Francois FILLON (since 17 May 2007)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president at the suggestion of the prime minister
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (changed from seven-year term in October 2000); election last held 22 April and 6 May 2007 (next to be held spring 2012); prime minister nominated by the National Assembly majority and appointed by the president
election results: Nicolas SARKOZY wins the election; First Round: percent of vote - Nicolas SARKOZY 31.18%, Segolene ROYAL 25.87%, Francois BAYROU 18.57%, Jean-Marie LE PEN 10.44%, others 13.94%; Second Round: SARKOZY 53.1% and ROYAL 46.9%
Legislative branch
Definition
bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of the Senate or Senat (331 seats, 305 for metropolitan France, 9 for overseas departments, 5 for dependencies, and 12 for French nationals abroad; members are indirectly elected by an electoral college to serve six-year terms; one third elected every three years); note - between 2006 and 2011, 15 new seats will be added to the Senate for a total of 348 seats - 326 for metropolitan France and overseas departments, 2 for New Caledonia, 2 for Mayotte, 1 for Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, 1 for Saint-Barthelemy, 1 for Saint-Martin, 3 for overseas territories, and 12 for French nationals abroad; starting in 2008, members will be indirectly elected by an electoral college to serve six-year terms, with one-half elected every three years; and the National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (577 seats, 555 for metropolitan France, 15 for overseas departments, 7 for dependencies; members are elected by popular vote under a single-member majority system to serve five-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held 26 September 2004 (next to be held in September 2008); National Assembly - last held 10 and 17 June 2007 (next to be held in June 2012)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 156, PS 97, UDF (now MoDem) 33, PCF 23, RDSE 15, other 7; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - UMP 46.37%, PS 42.25%, miscellaneous left wing parties 2.47%, PCF 2.28%, NC 2.12%, PRG 1.65%, miscellaneous right wing parties 1.17%, the Greens 0.45, other 1.24%; seats by party - UMP 313, PS 186, NC 22, miscellaneous left wing parties 15, PCF 15, miscellaneous right wing parties 9, PRG 7, the Greens 4, other 6
Judicial branch
Definition
Supreme Court of Appeals or Cour de Cassation (judges are appointed by the president from nominations of the High Council of the Judiciary); Constitutional Council or Conseil Constitutionnel (three members appointed by the president, three appointed by the president of the National Assembly, and three appointed by the president of the Senate); Council of State or Conseil d'Etat
Political parties and leaders
Definition
Democratic Movement or MoDem [Francois BAYROU] (previously Union for French Democracy or UDF); Democratic and Social European Rally or RDSE [Pierre LAFFITTE] (mainly Radical Republican and Socialist Parties, and PRG); French Communist Party or PCF [Marie-George BUFFET]; Greens [Cecile DUFLOT]; Left Radical Party or PRG [Jean-Michel BAYLET] (previously Radical Socialist Party or PRS and the Left Radical Movement or MRG); Movement for France or MPF [Philippe DE VILLIERS]; National Front or FN [Jean-Marie LE PEN]; New Center or NC [Herve MORIN]; Rally for France or RPF [Charles PASQUA]; Republican and Citizen Movement or MRC [Jean Pierre CHEVENEMENT and Georges SARRE]; Socialist Party or PS [Francois HOLLANDE]; Union for a Popular Movement or UMP [Patrick DEVEDJIAN, Jean-Claude GAUDIN, Jean-Pierre RAFFARIN, Pierre MEHAIGNERIE]; Radical Party [Jean-Louis BORLOO]
Political pressure groups and leaders
Definition
Confederation Francaise Democratique du Travail or CFDT, left-leaning labor union with approximately 803,000 members; Confederation Generale des Cadres or CGC, independent white-collar union with 196,000 members; Confederation Generale du Travail or CGT, historically communist labor union with approximately 700,000 members; Confederation Generale du Travail - Force Ouvriere or FO, independent labor union with an estimated 300,000 members; Mouvement des Entreprises de France or MEDEF, employers' union with 750,000 companies as members (claimed)
French Guiana: conservationists; gold mining pressure groups; hunting pressure groups
Guadeloupe: Christian Movement for the Liberation of Guadeloupe or KLPG; General Federation of Guadeloupe Workers or CGT-G; General Union of Guadeloupe Workers or UGTG; Movement for an Independent Guadeloupe or MPGI; The Socialist Renewal Movement
Martinique: Caribbean Revolutionary Alliance or ARC; Central Union for Martinique Workers or CSTM; Frantz Fanon Circle; League of Workers and Peasants; Proletarian Action Group or GAP
Reunion: NA
International organization participation
Definition
ADB (nonregional members), AfDB (nonregional members), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, BDEAC, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS (observer), CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FZ, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, InOC, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINURCAT, MINURSO, MINUSTAH, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), Schengen Convention, SECI (observer), SPC, UN, UN Security Council, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, Union Latina, UNITAR, UNMEE, UNMIL, UNOCI, UNOMIG, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WADB (nonregional), WCL, WCO, WEU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US
Definition
chief of mission: Ambassador Pierre VIMONT
chancery: 4101 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 944-6000
FAX: [1] (202) 944-6166
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, Washington, DC
Diplomatic representation from the US
Definition
chief of mission: Ambassador Craig R. STAPLETON
embassy: 2 Avenue Gabriel, 75382 Paris Cedex 08
mailing address: PSC 116, APO AE 09777
telephone: [33] (1) 43-12-22-22
FAX: [33] (1) 42 66 97 83
consulate(s) general: Marseille, Strasbourg
Flag description
Definition
three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), white, and red; known as the "Le drapeau tricolore" (French Tricolor), the origin of the flag dates to 1790 and the French Revolution; the design and/or colors are similar to a number of other flags, including those of Belgium, Chad, Ireland, Cote d'Ivoire, Luxembourg, and Netherlands; the official flag for all French dependent areas


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