Jack Lang

A New System of Government for France Publication date : August 27, 2004

“Unease, divorce, social fracture: these are some of the ills that sap the vitality of the French nation. Although France would seem to have everything to fuel its success, it sinks deeper every day into a mood of doubt, disquiet and diminished self-confidence. France has come into the twenty-first century with a serious drawback it must overcome: an inadequate political and administrative organisation. Not surprisingly, unease permeates politics, while public opinion is increasingly overwhelmed by feelings of powerlessness.
“Two words summarise the nature of political power in France: concentration and powerlessness. Behind the apparent paradox that associates excessive concentration of power with extreme public powerlessness lies the simple logic of the following statement: political power that no longer represents anything can no longer do anything.
“Must we wait until we are faced with a violent crisis in order to decide to change the system? Will we be capable of making profound changes in the organisation of the French Republic before a revolt, a major shock or a social cataclysm creates an emergency that forces us to take action?
“Changing the institutional system will not, of course, act as a panacea. But we must urgently reconsider the rules that govern the Republic. After this alarming acknowledgement, the proposed changes must be seriously examined. They are based on a simple idea, a driving principle invented in France but that the French have ignored till now: the separation of powers. These proposed changes will then lead to a profound reorganisation of the government and to the creation of a French-style Presidential regime,” writes Jack Lang.

Jack Lang is a leading figure of the French Socialist Party and a law professor. He was formerly Minister of Culture, Minister of Education and Mayor of Blois.