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France is a country with strong political, military, economic, and cultural impact on others. Being a developed country and member of the European Union, the French Republic is the second largest economy in Europe and the fifth largest economy in the world. It is situated in Western Europe.

France borders such states as Luxembourg, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Monaco, Italy, Spain, and Andorra. Its European territory covers about 550,000 square kilometers while the total area is 674,843 square km. Moreover, France has an economic zone, which is the second-largest area in the world. This country possesses a variety of landscapes: from the Pyrenees, Massif Central, and Alps in the south to coastal plains in the west and north. The climate is temperate in the north and northwest, and it varies on the rest areas: from oceanic to alpine.

According to the statistics, 65.8 million of people live in France. White males form 85% (51 million); North Africans number 10% (6 million); people of African and Asian descents are the smallest groups, 3.5% (2 million) and 1.5% (1 million) respectively. In general, the country takes the 21st place among the most heavily populated nations. Furthermore, it accepts many migrants every year.

The semi-presidential system of government characterizes France as a democratic state. The institutional base of current political system is provided by the Constitution of 1958. The President of the Republic and the Prime Minister are two leaders of the executive branch. At present, it is François Hollande and Jean-Marc Ayro. The President is directly elected in two stages for the term of five years by universal suffrage, and Prime Minister is appointed by the President for an uncertain period of time. The President governs defense and foreign policy while the Prime Minister is responsible for domestic policy and serves as the head of government. The Council of Ministers is controlled by the Prime Minister, though it is chaired by the President.

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The legislative branch is represented by the bicameral parliament, including the Senate and the National Assembly. Senators are indirectly elected for the term of six years by an electoral college, and their legislative power is limited. They specialize in foreign affairs and constitutional matters. Deputies of the National Assembly are chosen for five years to represent the population. Their majority determines a parliament’s choice as only the Assembly has the right to disembody the Cabinet and take the final decisions. The Parliament is in charge of creating laws.

The Cour de cassation and Constitutional Court are the highest representatives of judiciary. Nevertheless, only the Constitutional Court has the power of judicial review. It has nine members who are appointed for nine years that are non- renewable compared to the U.S. system. The judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches, but the Minister of Justice, now Christiane Taubira, has authority over the functioning of judiciary and prosecution. The Constitutional Council checks the executive power. It also controls the Parliament through self-limitations and corrective revisions (A Short Guide to the Institutions of Power in France). This denotes the existence of a system of checks and balances. On the other hand, France has not such separation of powers as the United States. It is characterized by the large Presidency with the absence of sufficient counterbalances.

In conclusion, the political system of France has three common branches with generally accepted responsibilities. However, it differs from other modern democratic states in separation of powers and single-winner voting for President in two rounds.

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