From the Gaullist movement to the president’s party
in The French party system

The Gaullist party of the early Fifth Republic, despite its nationwide organisation and membership, was materially far more dependent on its positions within the state than its leaders cared to admit. This chapter considers what kept the mainstream right apart before 2002. It shows how a more favourable context was used to advance a concrete merger project, in the approach to and aftermath of the 2002 elections. Alain Madelin never attempted to impose a line on his Démocratie Libérale (DL) deputies, almost all of whom rallied to the Union en Mouvement (UEM) project. The president's party was the fruit of a project undertaken outside of, even against, the leaders of all other established parties of the moderate right. The chapter assesses both the Union pour la Majorité Présidentielle's (UMP), longer-term prospects, and its more general impact on the French party system.

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