Country of the World France

About the country France, its location, size, population, leaders and rulers.




Lay of the Land: Located in Western Europe, France is covered by a broad plain in its western and northern regions, while upland plateaus predominate in the south central area. About a third of the land is mountainous. In the Alps is France's--and Western Europe's--highest point, Mont Blanc (15,771 ft.). The richly diverse terrain is watered by four major river systems: the Seine, the Loire, the Garonne, and the Rhone-Saone system. The Rhine forms part of the Franco-German border.

Size: 211,207 sq. mi. (547,026 sq. km.), about four fifths the size of Texas and second only to the U.S.S.R. among European nations.

Population: 54.1 million.

Who Rules: The president and, to a lesser extent, the premier--and, to a still lesser extent, a legislature made up of the National Assembly and the Senate, in accordance with the 1958 constitution for the Fifth Republic, engineered by Gen. (and at the time Premier) Charles de Gaulle. The National Assembly can be dissolved by the president with the advice of the premier. The president, elected for seven years, may also call for special referendums and assume full powers in a national emergency.

Who REALLY Rules: For the most part, the president, although the large capitalist companies and the supertechnocratic Ecole Nationale d'Administration (alma mater of many key officials) exert considerable influence on the conduct of French affairs.

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