|tives of labor, capital, and agriculture into direct contact with policymakers. This compromise, to which all three parties now subscribed, was immediately attacked by de Gaulle. De Gaulle's rejection of the draft left the MRP in the awkward position of campaigning in favor of a constitution that de Gaulle explicitly rejected and that the Communists supported. The rupture between the MRP and de Gaulle was now complete. From this point on, de Gaulle began to plan for the creation of an explicitly Gaullist party. In the meantime, the public affirmed the constitutional compromise in a national referendum in October 1946, in which 36 percent of the electorate voted in favor, 31 percent voted against, and the other third abstained. "The most widespread reaction to the Fourth Republic's founding text," historian Jean-Pierre Rioux has noted, "was thus one of apathy or hostility." The trappings of the "stalemate society" had fallen into place.|
|The two years following the liberation are often characterized, Maurice Larkin has noted, as a period of "disintegration, when the hopes and ideals of the resistance parties evaporated, and parliamentary government rapidly returned to the|
of the inter-war years."
Certainly, many contemporaries saw things this way. De Gaulle felt that the parties had denied him the chance to provide France with a strong constitution, and so in his memoirs, he presented those parties, rather as he did Vichy, as a small minority, out of touch with the nation, seeking only the perpetuation of their own power. "The lessons of the past, the realities of the present, the threats of the future, changed absolutely nothing of their viewpoint and their demands," he wrote. Meanwhile, centrist
like Bidault criticized de Gaulle for doing too little to work within the party system and to take advantage of it, while the left felt that de Gaulle had sold out the resistance and blocked substantial political reform.
|It is not clear, however, that such failures in the political arena hampered the formation of a national strategy for recovery. Indeed, one rather cynical contemporary analyst suggested that the political orientation of the government mattered little in Fourth Republic France, for politicians were but accessory to the process of administering the nation. Writing in 1955, the Swiss journalist Herbert Luethy claimed that "in seventy years of republicanism France has not once had a parliamentary working majority or a government coalition which could agree even on the foundations of a coherent policy, and it has never had a government which lived long enough to be able to work out and introduce such a policy. France is not ruled but administered, and it is her apparent politi-|