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   109. "The French don't have a decent political system. They've got too many parties. They never get together."

     The French political system is a democracy. It is like ours in its basic principles: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of the vote, minority rights, protection under the law, trial by jury, etc.

     The system differs from ours as far as parties are concerned: we have a "two-party" form of administration; the French have many parties.

     The French have a political party for almost every conceivable political position. They don't believe that "there are two ways of looking at things"; the French think there are dozens of ways, and that if enough people hold to any one way they have a right to be represented in the government.

     French electoral practice has not encouraged party organisation such as ours. The elections to the Chamber of Deputies are more like our municipal (city) electiQns than our national elections. In our city elections, peopJe frequently vote for their friends and neighbors, -- for men rather than parties. This is true in France, too.

     The French mutiple-party system has this advantage: it gives every group of any size a voice in government, a chance to get its program considered, a chance to get certain laws passed.

     The multiple-party system has this grave disadvantage: in France, no one party controls a majority of the votes in, the Chamber of Deputies. Cabinets are always combination or coalition cabinets. The Premier has to rely on persuasion. It is easy for such cabinets to be overthrown. It is relatively hard for such cabinets to work together, on a common program, for many years; with each new problem or each new crisis, the cabinet can easily be broken up.

     The French today are very much aware of the dangers and disadvantages of a multiple-party system, how they will solve it, how they will translate wide representation into simpler administration is their problem. They are trying to solve it -- democratically.

   



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