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La loi Devaquet : raisons et sens d’un échec

Abstract : In March 1986, right-wing parties’ victory in France’s parliamentary elections place the country in an unprecedented situation: the two “chiefs” of the executive, the sitting president and the Prime Minister of the newly elected majority, do not lean the same way politically. This is the first “cohabitation,” as it will come to be called. The newly elected government decides to repeal the 1984 law on universities. Alain Devaquet, the junior minister for Universities and Research, introduces a new bill. But his own majority considers that the reform does not go far enough or promote market based reforms aggressively enough. The bill is only introduced into the Senate in October 1986. Although throughout the spring, students and the main student union, the UNEF-ID, had remained very muted, in the fall, massive protests start. Two huge demonstrations are organized, in November and December. Clashes with the police suddenly catapult the movement into a different political dimension, when on the night of December 5, 1986, policemen beat young Malik Oussekine to death. Public opinion sides with the students. Fearing a major political crisis, the government drops the bill on December 10, 1986. Most remember this dramatic context as what cut short the Devaquet reforms, but in reality, the seeds of failure were there all along: beyond the student protests, one must look to the institutional context created by the anomalous “cohabitation,” and especially, to the antagonism between France’s two right-wing parties (RPR and UDF), which undermined the Devaquet bill at every stage, setting it up to fail.
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Submitted on : Thursday, October 28, 2021 - 5:13:29 PM
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Olivier Crouillebois. La loi Devaquet : raisons et sens d’un échec. Histoire. Sorbonne Université, 2020. Français. ⟨NNT : 2020SORUL001⟩. ⟨tel-03407909⟩

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