This chapter offers a two-tier analysis of the interaction between developments within the party system as a whole and the internal politics of the French Parti Socialiste (PS). It illustrates the institutional constraints of the French party system, and how its competitive demands helped to structure the internal organisation of the PS. The chapter shows how the PS has shaped the development of the French party system. It considers how PS factionalism and organisational changes structure the internal debate and shapes the PS approach to the two dimensions of political strategy. Although genetically programmed to operate under a majoritarian system inducing rassemblement in the second ballot, the PS proved adept at pursuing other strategies for different kinds of elections. The chapter examines a series of significant episodes in the PS's development in the 1990s and explores the processes of interaction between intra-party politics and opportunities for party system change.
This chapter explores the successes and failures of the Lionel Jospin era (1997-2002), and interrogates its implications for the analysis of social democracy more broadly, and its compatibility (or otherwise) with globalisation, and deregulated financial markets. It charts how the credibility built after the 1983 U-turn through firstly competitive disinflation and subsequently the 'ordo-liberal' foundations of EMU generated policy space exploited by the Jospin Government. The stability and growth pact (SGP), the budgetary policy rules limiting deficit and debt levels for euro members, had secured credibility for France and other European members. The chapter then assesses enduring volontarisme in French Socialist economic and social policy-making, analysing the employment and redistribution oriented economic policies central to the 1997-2002 period. Finally, it explores successful attempts at institutional re-engineering of the EMU architecture, notably expanding scope for dirigiste fiscal policy, and rearticulating dirigiste policy approaches at the supranational level.