This title was first published in 2000: The Presidency has been the principal political focus of the French Fifth Republic and the new component of French democracy. This book looks at how the Presidency has shaped political parties and party systems, as well as 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 longstanding traditions of French political life and the Presidency can provoke destructive rivalry as well as constructive coalition-building. Presented here is a discussion of the contemporary French party system - its dynamics, successes and failures. Written in an accessible style, it is intended for students of French studies and political parties, as well as comparative politics.