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Post Jean-Pierre Raffarin; What Does the French Prime Minister Do?
Created by John Eipper on 01/15/22 1:26 PM

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Jean-Pierre Raffarin; What Does the French Prime Minister Do? (Hall Gardner, -France, 01/15/22 1:26 pm)

Jean-Pierre Raffarin was the head (Prime Minister) of three successive French governments under President Jacques Chirac from May 6 2002 to May 31 2005. The PM is the second-highest office in France, after the President, and directs the actions of the Government.

Raffarin was chosen Prime Minister due to his popularity at the time and support for ordinary citizens, small enterprises, and decentralization--and particularly for his efforts to gain political consensus before engaging in action. He was generally known as a liberal Giscardian. He was also the Vice President of the French Senate from 2011 to 2014. He is a strong supporter of multilateralism as a means to resolve international conflict and was Prime Minister when France (rightly!) opposed the 2003 Iraq war.

The French prime minister is much more powerful than the US Speaker of the House or the US Vice President. The French president appoints, but cannot dismiss, the PM--even though the President can ask for their resignation. The PM, who proposes the ministers for the government to the French President for approval, can however, be dismissed by the National Assembly.

In my view, as it is never very clear whether the actual policies stem from the President or the PM, the French President often uses the PM as a kind of shield--so that if French policies become unpopular, the President blames the PM!

Hope this is helpful!

JE comments:  Absolutely!  The "president-prime minister" tandem exists in many countries.  It would be an instructional international "civics" lesson to learn about the PM's role in other nations where there are both.  Hall, in France, does (has) the PM ever stand (stood) up to the president?

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