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Fifth Republic:see FranceFrance
, officially French Republic, republic (2015 est. pop. 64,457,000), 211,207 sq mi (547,026 sq km), W Europe. France is bordered by the English Channel (N), the Atlantic Ocean and the Bay of Biscay (W), Spain and Andorra (SW), the Mediterranean Sea (S; the location of the
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in France, the political regime established by the Constitution of 1958, which was drafted by the government of Charles de Gaulle, was approved by a referendum on Sept. 28, 1958, and went into effect on Oct. 5, 1958.
The regime of the Fifth Republic is characterized by a broadening of executive power, particularly that of the president, and by curtailment of parliament’s authority. The president may dissolve the National Assembly before the regularly scheduled elections, may call for new elections, and in extreme circumstances may himself assume full power. Although the president remains formally responsible to parliament, he appoints the premier and, with the premier’s recommendation, all the ministers. At first, the president was elected indirectly, but since October 1962 he has been elected by direct universal suffrage. Democratic forces in France have been demanding a revision of the Fifth Republic’s constitution.