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The presidential election of 2007, which propelled Nicolas Sarkozy into the Élysée Palace, was arguably the most important for a generation. Sarkozy's victory was seen as opening a new political era, as he replaced Jacques Chirac at the forefront of French politics. Developments in French Politics 4 takes stock of the Chirac years, gives an account of the changed political scene, and makes accessible the latest analysis of contemporary French politics. Written by a team of leading authorities from France, the USA, the UK and beyond, this volume provides a systematic assessment of the French political system, from the central institutions and organizations through to key policies and issues. It addresses the main challenges in contemporary politics and the administration's response. Globalization, gender, immigration and culture all come under the microscope, as do traditional concerns such as economic, welfare and foreign policy. Arguing that reform went further under Chirac than is commonly acknowledged, the chapters together provide state of the art coverage of French politics and an assessment of the degree of continuity and change – institutionally, structurally and behaviourally – between Chirac and Sarkozy. ALISTAIR COLE is Professor of European Politics at Cardiff University, UK. PATRICK LE GALÈS is Research Professor in Politics and Sociology at Sciences Po, at the Centre for Political Research (CEVIPOF) and the National Centre of Scientific Research. JONAH LEVY is Associate Professor of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley, USA.