France : 1979 to Present



A Timeline

by M Jizzle

themes: political upheaval, economic upheaval, social advancement
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1974-1981 : Valéry Giscard d'Estaing is elected President of the Republic. (POL)

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1981 : Socialist candidate François Mitterrand is elected President of the Republic. (POL)

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Abolition of the death penalty: The official instrument of death, the guillotine, was no longer used to kill those who had received the death penalty. Though the last public guillotining took place in 1939, the last execution peformed by guillotine was to kill torture-murderer Hamida Djandoubi in 1979. (SOC)

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Nationalization of large merger and acquisitions firm Rothschild continues the tradition of nationalization in France- the government already controlled the most important banks, electricity companies, gas distributors, and public transportation industries. (SOC) (ECON)

1982 : The national government passed laws to decentralize the government by giving more power to locally elected officials.(POL)

1986 : First elections of local officials with new powers in France. Since then, France has continued to slowly decentralize, giving more and more power to local government. (POL)

Conservative Jacques Chirac is appointed Prime Minister. (POL)

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First cohabitation : First left-wing president and right-wing Prime Minister in government. (POL)
Re-privatization : Chirac reversed Mitterand's Socialist nationalization policies, allowing control of many government-owned businesses to be returned to their former owners. (SOC) (ECON)

1988 : François Mitterrand is re-elected as President of the Republic.(POL)

1992 : The French ratify the Maastricht Treaty: the European Union is created from what used to be called the European Community, and before that, the European Economic Community. (POL)

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1995 : Jacques Chirac is re-elected as President of the Republic. (POL)
Alain Juppé is appointed Prime Minister.(POL)

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France draws international criticism by conducting nuclear tests in the Pacific Ocean, in French Polynesia, after signing and ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty the same year. France previously conducted tests in the Sahara Desert before the independence of Algeria. France's nuclear testing has actually caused Polynesia to prosper- more development and tourism was brought to the islands. Actual testing occurred at isolated Muroroa and Fangataufa Atolls far in the South Pacific. (SOC) (POL)

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1997 : Lionel Jospin became Prime Minister. (POL)

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Signing of the Amsterdam Treaty : The treaty amended parts of the European Union Treaty at Maastricht. It gave the EU more powers, and addressed issues such as immigration and unemployment. (POL)

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2000 : The constitution is amended to change the period in office for the president from seven to five years. (POL)

2001 : Compulsory military service abolished. It had been started during the French Revolution, and used to form Napoleon's Grand Army. No conscripted people completing their compulsory service had been sent abroad since the Algerian War (1954-1962). (SOC) (POL)

2002 : Euro replaced franc after 700 years in use as currency. (SOC) (ECON)
Chirac re-elected after Jospin's resignation, and the election of conservative Raffarin as President ends the cohabitation in government. (POL)

money went from this:

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to this:

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2003 : An estimated 14,860 people reported dead after a heat wave raised the temperature up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Most deaths were among the elderly. (SOC)

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2004 : In a vote of 494 to 36, a bill is passed banning the wearing of headscarfs or other religious symbols in public schools. (SOC) (POL)

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2005 : Fires in Paris killed dozens of illegal immigrants and showcase housing shortages. (SOC)

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People like the North African women are evicted from their homes when they are declared unsuitable for living in.(SOC)

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France announced that they would have the world's first experimental nuclear fusion reactor in a town near Marseilles, called Cardarache. (SOC) (POL) (ECON)

They want to get this sustainable energy (like the sun)
They want to get this sustainable energy (like the sun)


This is the new reactor they are using
This is the new reactor they are using


Here is the reactor in Cardarache, operated by the French Atomic Energy Commission
Here is the reactor in Cardarache, operated by the French Atomic Energy Commission


Curfews imposed to stop urban riots brought on by illegal immigration, insufficient housing, and the electrocution death of two African teens who were being chased by police- into an electricity station. (SOC)

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Huge unemployment rates among the 18-30 year olds in France leads to an enormous emigration, aided by companies in Canada, New Zealand, Britain and America. (SOC) (POL) (ECON)

2006 : New bill passed that sets new limits on immigration, after a series of riots from fires and their resulting deaths. (SOC) (POL)

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2007 : Former Interior Minister Nicholas Sarkozy is sworn in as new president of France. (POL)

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Sarkozy keeps his pre-election promise to give half of the posts in his cabinet to women. (SOC) (POL)

The women of Sarkozy's cabinet.
The women of Sarkozy's cabinet.


France signs arms deal with Libya worth $400 million. The actual company that signed the deal, EADS, is owned 15% by the French government. This issue was shrouded in controversy due to the coinciding of the signing of the deal and the release of 6 medical workers improsoned in Tripoli on the charge of deliberately infecting Libyan children with AIDS. The deal not only involved the building of nuclear power stations, but also the purchasing of many tanks. The French people were woried that the tanks would fall into terrorist hands. (SOC) (POL) (ECON)

Sarkozy and Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi discussing their nuclear deal in France.
Sarkozy and Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi discussing their nuclear deal in France.


A political cartoon showcasing the unhappiness and scorn of many French who fear that the deal may give power to terrorists.
A political cartoon showcasing the unhappiness and scorn of many French who fear that the deal may give power to terrorists.


2008 : France officially ratifies Lisbon Treaty.The treaty changed the structure of the European Union, including giving more powers to the president, and extending the term of president, from 6 months to 2 1/2 years. (SOC) (POL)