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VOM REPRÄSENTATIVEN PARLAMENTARISMUS ZUR PLEBISZITÄREN PRÄSIDIALDEMOKRATIE: RAYMOND CARRÉ DE MALBERG (1861 - 1935) UND DIE SOUVERÄNITÄT DER FRANZÖSISCHEN NATION

Christoph Schönberger
Der Staat
Vol. 34, No. 3 (1995), pp. 359-390
Published by: Duncker & Humblot GmbH
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43642686
Page Count: 32
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
VOM REPRÄSENTATIVEN PARLAMENTARISMUS ZUR PLEBISZITÄREN PRÄSIDIALDEMOKRATIE: RAYMOND CARRÉ DE MALBERG (1861 - 1935) UND DIE SOUVERÄNITÄT DER FRANZÖSISCHEN NATION
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Abstract

The text introduces a classical scholar of French constitutional law, Raymond Carré de Malberg. He developed his theoretical political system under the French constitution of 1875 which remained the constitutional framework of the Third Republic until the defeat by Nazi Germany in 1940. At the center of Carré de Malberg's system stood the „souveraineté nationale,“ the sovereignty of the nation. He claimed that „nation“ meant the abstract community of dead, living, and future Frenchmen (in a Burkean sense). This distorted view -that ironically ascribed counterrevolutionary ideas to the French revolutionaries - led him to the conclusion that the „nation“ could never act by itself, but always had to be represented by the elected parliament and only by this parliament. The „people“ as the concrete entirety of living citizens could never exercise political power, as for example in a referendum. The „souvereignty of the people“ became for him a negative concept in contrast to the „souvereignty of the nation.“ Carré de Malberg reinforced the central position of parliament by going back to the ideas of Paul Laband's contemporary German positivism. By combining his „souveraineté nationale“ with the German idea of the „State“ (in which this was understood as a self-standing institution that did not have to be further justified), he reinforced the independence of parliament from the electorate. Yet he did not want to speak of a „souvereigny of parliament,“ but maintained that only the nation was sovereign, and in doing so could not explain how the power of parliament could be limited. This changed in 1931 when he gave up his earlier views completely and declared that parliament was sovereign in fact. Now he suggested an influential series of measures in order to break with this French tradition, especially the introduction of referenda and the popular election of the presidents. These suggestions prefigured in many respects the present-day French constitution that was passed under the influence of General de Gaulle. The article ends with some reflections on the continuity of the French revolutionary and republican tradition in the work of Carré de Malberg.

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