The Presidency has been the principal political focus of the French Fifth Republic and the new component of French democracy. This book, based on interview research as well as on party material, looks at how the Presidency has shaped political parties and party systems as well as at how they have interacted with the new institution." "The Presidency has acted as a unifying force, bringing together coalitions of parties to provide a political basis for presidential power, but has also been a divisive factor. Parties draw on long standing traditions of French political life and the Presidency can provoke destructive rivalry as well as constructive coalition building." "Presented is a discusison of the contemporary French party system, its dynamics, its successes and failures. Written in a clear and accessible style, it provides essential reading for students of French studies and political parties as well as comparative politics.