About France Category: History
The Fifth Republic is the period of the fifth and current republican constitution of France, which was introduced on October 5, 1958. The Fifth Republic emerged from the ashes of the French Fourth Republic, replacing a weak and factional parliamentary government with a stronger, more centralized democracy.
The impetus behind the creation of the Fifth Republic was the Algerian Crisis. Although France had since parted with many of its colonies, such as many of those in West Africa and Southeast Asia, it still retained Algeria, which had a large French population. Algeria eventually became independent on July 5, 1962.
The former general Charles de Gaulle used the crisis as an opportunity to create a new French government with the stronger office of President. French Presidents were given a very long term (7 years, now reduced to 5 years) and currently still have more internal power than most of their European counterparts. On September 28, 1958, a referendum took place and 79.2% of those who voted supported the new constitution.