Political Leadership in France analyzes changes which have taken place over the last 50 years in French politics. When Charles de Gaulle came to power in 1958 the drama surrounding the Fourth Republic's collapse and the focus on an exceptional individual meant that he was able to confer a very particular style of leadership on the new Fifth Republic. De Gaulle's 'performance' was such that he transformed the nature of leadership politics in France, increasing the scope for personal leadership and the emphasis upon the exalted leader. This had major implications for the republic's institutions and for the role of political parties. The five Presidents who came after him – Pompidou, Giscard, Mitterrand, Chirac, and Sarkozy, as well as contenders for the presidency such as Segolene Royal and François Hollande – have each capitalized upon their own political 'persona' and their relationship to the French people. Gaffney takes a new approach to the subject, looking at the mythological and cultural as well as institutional conditions of political performance. This paperback edition includes a new preface.