Democracy and rights
France is a well-functioning democracy and a
rule of law. There is a long tradition of freedom of the
press. After the country has suffered severe acts of
terrorism since 2015, anti-terrorism legislation has
been tightened. It has increased the authorities'
opportunities for monitoring and control of citizens,
something that has been raised as a problem by human
The importance of protecting individuals' rights and
freedoms was recognized in France as early as the French
Revolution of 1789, when the country was the first in
the world to adopt a Declaration of Human Rights. This
has been of great importance for the international human
rights acquis that has subsequently emerged.
Offers a comprehensive list of airports in France, including international airports with city located, size and abbreviation, as well as the biggest airlines.
France's political system is built on democratic
principles with general, free and fair elections to the
presidential post and parliament (see also Political
Political parties can operate freely and this also
applies to trade unions which are an important force in
French society. There are a large number of individual
organizations that work actively on various issues.
Terrorist attacks in 2015 and 2016 (see Modern
History) led the government to increase its efforts to
fight terrorism and protect the country from new
attacks. An emergency permit was introduced after the
attacks in Paris in November 2015 and it was then
extended in installments. During the two years when the
state of emergency prevailed in the country, 2015-2017,
the authorities were able, among other things, to limit
the freedom of demonstration at the same time as the
security service and the police had increased
opportunities for surveillance and to carry out
operations against suspected terrorists.
After the state of emergency was lifted, new
anti-terrorism legislation was introduced, which means
that the police and security services still have the
power to tighten surveillance and control of suspects,
including through house searches and house remnants. The
legislation has been controversial and has, among other
things, been criticized by human rights organizations
for the fact that decisions on house arrest are
sometimes issued on vague grounds.
Policy makers strive to strengthen the role of women
in politics and in society at large. There is no
legislation that prevents any group in society, whether
ethnic and religious minority or LGBTQ person, from
participating in political life. But right-wing
ideologies have become more prevalent in society in
recent years, which has led to a growing hostility to
immigration and also that especially Muslim groups,
immigrants from North Africa and Roma feel that they are
being discriminated against in society and in politics.
There are problems with hate crimes against both Jews
Freedom of expression and media
Freedom of speech is inscribed in the Declaration on
the Rights of Man and Citizen from 1789. At the same
time, there are restrictions on freedom of speech.
Expressing opinions that are racist, anti-Semitic or
advocating terrorism is prohibited and that incitement
to hatred against ethnic groups and sexual minorities is
Freedom of the press has been guaranteed by law since
1881 and it is also highly respected in practice. The
media represents a large number of political opinions,
have an independent position and can operate relatively
freely (see the Press Freedom Organization Reporters
Without Borders list here) The strict legislation
against slander has led journalists to be prosecuted on
It is a problem that the ownership of the media has
become increasingly concentrated to a few companies. In
recent years, several cases have been noted where owners
have tried to exert pressure on employed journalists in
their reporting. In the mid-2010s, Parliament passed a
new media law that strengthened the protection of
journalists against pressures, among other things.
French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo ended up in
blustery weather when it published the so-called
Muhammad cartoons in 2006. The editor-in-chief was sued
but released in court. Freedom of expression in relation
to respect for different religious orientations was
intensively debated on the basis of the satirical
drawings of the Prophet Muhammad. The debate flared up
again in 2012, when Charlie Hebdo again had satirical
pictures of the Prophet. Three years later, in January
2015, two perpetrators linked to Islamist terrorism shot
dead twelve people, eight of whom were journalists or
cartoonists. Following the act, a new law was passed
that gave the authorities greater opportunities for
monitoring the use of mobiles and the Internet. The law
raised concerns among journalists that it would make
their work more difficult.
During the late 2010s, journalists were increasingly
threatened and physically attacked in connection with
demonstrations and street protests.
There are no restrictions on freedom of expression on
the internet and no censorship exists.
Corruption occurs in society and in politics, but
there is no widespread problem. During the end of the
2010 France was ranked 21-21 by 180 countries in
Transparency International's annual corruption index
Former Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac,
however, have been investigated for corruption. Chirac
was given a conditional verdict for corruption in 2011
when he was mayor of Paris in the 1990s, while Sarkozy
has been subject to corruption investigations in the end
of the 2010s in connection with the 2007 and 2012
elections. elected. Politicians have been accused of
hiring high-paying family members, such as the
presidential candidates in the 2017 election, François
Fillon and Marine Le Pen.
In 2017, a new anti-corruption law was introduced,
which, among other things, prohibits politicians with
trust assignments and public employees from employing
Judicial system and legal security
The independence of the judiciary in France is
protected by the Constitution and legal certainty is
guaranteed. However, there are problems with long
waiting times before trials can be held against
suspects, which means that some suspects may be forced
to spend long periods in legal custody, something
criticized by human rights organizations and raised by
international human rights bodies.
The death penalty in peacetime was abolished in 1981,
and also in war in 2002. Prisons are overcrowded and
often in poor condition, and the suicide rate in French
prisons is high.
Investigation against Jacques Chirac
The former president is suspected of embezzlement during his mayoral tenure
in Paris. Chirac lost his immunity from prosecution when he left the
presidential post (see also Modern History).
Public sector employees and employees in the transport and energy sectors
demonstrate against Sarkozy's plans for deterioration in pensions, employment
benefits and salaries. The protests have major repercussions on public service.
Decides on stricter rules on family immigration;
Decides on stricter rules on family immigration;
Arms exports to Libya
France signs a controversial arms deal to Libya for around € 300 million.
The right becomes the biggest in the parliamentary elections
In the election to the National Assembly, the right-wing so-called
presidential majority takes 345 seats, against 227 seats for the left-wing bloc.
Five seats fall outside the blocks. François Fillon remains as prime minister.
Sarkozy wins in the second round
He gets 53 percent versus 47 percent for Royal. Sarkozy appoints Socialist
Bernard Kouchner (Co-Founder of Doctors Without Borders) as Foreign Minister,
after which Kouchner is excluded from the Socialist Party. The number of
ministries is halved to 15, and seven of the ministers are women.
First round of presidential elections
Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy from the UMP government party receives 31.2
percent of the vote, compared to 26.7 percent for the former Minister of
Education Ségolène Royal from the Socialist Party. In third place comes the
center party UDF's François Bayrou with 18.6 percent, followed by National
Front's Jean-Marie Le Pen, who gets about 10.4 percent.