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French politics under the Fifth Republic After Charles de Gaulle had the constitution of the French Fifth Republic adopted in 1958 France was ruled by successive right-wing administrations until 1981 Throughout the 1960s left-wing parties fared rather badly in national elections The successive governments generally applied the Gaullist program of national independence and modernization in a dirigiste fashion The Gaullist government however was criticized for its heavy-handedness while elections were free the state had a monopoly on radio and TV broadcasting and sought to have its point of view on events imposed this monopoly was not absolute however since there were radio stations transmitting from nearby countries specifically for the benefit of the French De Gaulles social policies were decidedly conservative In May 1968 series of worker strikes and student riots rocked France These did not however result in an immediate change of government with a right-wing administration being triumphantly reelected in the snap election of June 1968 The French electorate turned down a 1969 referendum on the reform of the French Senate in a move widely considered to be mostly motivated by weariness with de Gaulle In 1981 Franccedilois Mitterrand a Socialist was elected president on a program of far-reaching reforms After securing a majority in parliament through a snap election his government ran a program of social and economic reforms social reforms o abolition of the death penalty o removal of legislation criminalizing certain homosexual behaviors lowering of the age of consent for homosexual sex to that for heterosexual sex since the French Revolution France had never criminalized homosexuality between adults in private but since the 1960s until this time homosexuality was officially considered an illness to be cured economic reforms o the government embarked on a wave of nationalizations o the duration of the legal workweek was set to 39 hours instead of the previous 40 hours However in 1983 high inflation and economic woes
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