FRANCE: Democracy Is Patience

Of all the weapons with which the old French National Assembly battered the 24 postwar Cabinets of the preDe Gaulle Fourth Republic into helplessness and defeat, the favorite by far was the deadly instrument of interpellations (questions in debate). The technique was to pop a question at a minister, then toss in a series of motions, and demand a debate and a vote on every single one of them. As perfected in the 1952 debate that stymied the Tunisian reform program of Premier Pinay's government, this method of ministerial massacre has been...

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