In the end, something had to give. When France’s Fifth Republic was set up under Charles de Gaulle the idea was that its institutions would constitute a form of buttress for the president. But that did not mean the presidency itself was immune to collapse. It is true that, by bypassing Parliamentary votes on key legislation, the current presidency has maintained the appearance of power, rather as Soviet embalmers preserved the appearance of Lenin. But in reality President François Hollande is already a political casualty, rejected by public opinion and defied by his own lieutenants.
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