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The most important thing to remember about the present French regime, said Roy C. Macridis, visiting professor of political science, is that it is "inextricably associated with de Gaulle." France, Macridis predicted, will face a "great crisis" when de Gaulle dies; the constitution will not stand without him.
Speaking last week at the opening of the Thursday afternoon lecture series, Macridis depicted de Gaulle's death as the end of a political era. 'The presidential system will be out after de Gaulle," he stated, adding that the prime minister and the parliament would again take precedence. And so, the Sixth Republic, Macridisthinks, will be much more like the fourth than the Fifth.
There will probably be some instability after de Gaulle's death, but not as much as that experienced under the Fourth Republic, Macridis said. He pointed to the Algerian situation as an example of a problem which has bedeviled the Fourth Republic but which probably would not trouble the Sixth.
The Sixth Republic may give better social opportunities to white-collar workers and professional people, thus encouraging them to get back into politics and "reconstruct the government."
Primarily, Macridis explained, reconstruction will take the form of combining the little political parties into big one. De Gaulle refuses to become a party leader and indeed blames the parties for all the trouble in the government; therefore no parties have joined together, Macridis said.
Macridis did give de Gaulle credit for three major improvements.
First he said that the local autonomy program which was accelerated under the Fifth Republic has now given full independence to all former French colonies. Thus France and her onetime possessions are now bound together only by treaties made in the "mutual interest" of all, and this arrangement, has benefited economically all of the countries involved and has produced "an unprecedented degree of good will" between France and her former colonies.
A second "permanent decision" Macridis attributed to the Fifth Republic is the membership of France in the Common Market. Elimination of trade barriers with other member nations has enabled France to compete successfully with them and increase her industrial development.
Also, the long standing problem of Algeria's rebellion has ended, with the government's decision to recognize that country's independence. But Algerian independence has brought with it many new problems, such as that of the fate of the French settlers who remain in Algeri
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