|Monarchy is Head of State|
|Federation of States|
|All States are equal with regards to number of representatives in the Upper house.|
|Separation of powers between Executive and Legislature|
|Residual powers with the States|
|Separate and Independent judiciary which can invalidate Legislatures decisions. The constitution follows "Due process of law" which makes it superior to Legislatures.|
|Indestructible states can cede from the Union.|
|Amendment to constitution needs referendum and support of 3/4th of the States. The States can have their own constitutions and citizenship. Their judicial system is also different from center.|
|Rigid constitution with special procedure to amend.|
|President seeks referendum for amendment.|
|President directly elected by People but PM and Cabinet responsible to legislature|
|Constitutional council checks validity of law.|
|President can summon sessions of Parliament and appoints constitutional council.|
French constitution most recently chosen by a voter referendum in 1958 under President De Gaulle chose a hybrid system for choosing the Heads of State and Government. In this system both the President and the Prime Minister have power.
The President governs the country but even the Legislature which consists of the two houses - National Assembly [Lower House] and the Senate [Upper house] has powers and autonomy in its own sphere. Thus the French President has a role equal to the US President.
The election takes place in two phases usually:
In the first phase of direct election the candidate who gets more than 50% of the votes is the winner of the election and becomes the President. But this event has never occurred.
So the top two candidates in the first round contest in the runoffs in the second round and the one who gets more votes is the winner.
The person who wants to contest has to be a French citizen and needs at least 500 votes from elected officials to be eligible to contest.
|Amendments are ratified by people via referendum|
|Parliamentary democracy where PM and cabinet are from the Diet i.e. legislature|
|Monarch has titular position|
|Right to wage war is relinquished|