In 2002, the French party system seems to be demonstrating a fluidity, if not outright instability, equal to any period in the Fifth Republic's history. This book explores the extent to which this represents outright change and shifts within a stable structure. Portrayals of French political culture point to incivisme, individualism and a distrust of organizations. The book focuses on three fundamental political issues such as 'politics', 'power' and 'justice', which appear in almost all political discussions and conflicts. It identifies different 'types' of state in political theory and looks at the major challenges to practical state sovereignty in the modern world. Discussing the concept of the nation in the United Kingdom, the book identifies both cultural and political aspects of nationhood. These include nation and state; race and nation; language and the nation; religion and national identity; government and nation; common historical and cultural ties; and a sense of 'nationhood'. Liberal democracy, defensive democracy and citizen democracy/republican democracy are explained. The book also analyses John Stuart Mill's and Isaiah Berlin's views on 'negative' and 'positive' freedom. Conservatism is one of the major intellectual and political strains of thought in Western culture. Liberalism has become the dominant ideology in the third millennium. Socialism sprang from the industrial revolution and the experience of the class that was its product, the working class. Events have made 'fascism' a term of political abuse rather than one of serious ideological analysis. Environmentalism and ecologism constitute one of the most recent ideological movements.
At the same time, French political parties perform such essential
functions as political mobilisation, the aggregation of interests, organising
political competition, feedback, public management and political recruitment. Our aim in this chapter is to give an overview of the evolution of
the French party system in the first forty-five years of the FifthRepublic,
to examine the principal changes since the 1980s and to identify the
underlying continuities in the party system.
The structure and evolution of the French party system
The history of French parties
aftermath of the
2002 elections. The conclusion will assess both the UMP’s longer-term
prospects, and its more general impact on the French party system.
France’s divided right
For most of the FifthRepublic, three things have divided the French
right: real differences of ideology and policy; opposed organisational
cultures; and the logic of presidential competition. On the other hand,
although the right-wing electorate is far from homogeneous, divisions
among voters had rather little impact on divisions between the parties
– and voter demand was eventually to be
climate characterised by both stagnation
Changes in the party system
Belated industrialisation, the Socialist–Communist split and longstanding
ideological divisions have all been cited as factors delaying the formation
of modern, disciplined party machines in France. Long into the twentieth
century, the political system incubated numerous parties, most of them
Beyond the mainstream: la gauche de la gauche
with weak structures and limited militant bases. Under the FifthRepublic,
revision of the electoral system forced parties to combine in
In May 1958, and four years into the Algerian War of Independence, a revolt again appropriated the revolutionary and republican symbolism of the French Revolution by seizing power through a Committee of Public Safety. This book explores why a repressive colonial system that had for over a century maintained the material and intellectual backwardness of Algerian women now turned to an extensive programme of 'emancipation'. After a brief background sketch of the situation of Algerian women during the post-war decade, it discusses the various factors contributed to the emergence of the first significant women's organisations in the main urban centres. It was only after the outbreak of the rebellion in 1954 and the arrival of many hundreds of wives of army officers that the model of female interventionism became dramatically activated. The French military intervention in Algeria during 1954-1962 derived its force from the Orientalist current in European colonialism and also seemed to foreshadow the revival of global Islamophobia after 1979 and the eventual moves to 'liberate' Muslim societies by US-led neo-imperialism in Afghanistan and Iraq. For the women of Bordj Okhriss, as throughout Algeria, the French army represented a dangerous and powerful force associated with mass destruction, brutality and rape. The central contradiction facing the mobile socio-medical teams teams was how to gain the trust of Algerian women and to bring them social progress and emancipation when they themselves were part of an army that had destroyed their villages and driven them into refugee camps.
ideological space whose voters win and lose elections.
Lastly, in empirical terms, the total level of volatility is the lowest since
the 1973–78 electoral period, and indeed one of the lowest in the history
of the FifthRepublic (Figure C.3).4
The 1988 election stands out as the outlier in an otherwise relatively
smooth trend in volatility. The 1986–88 right-wing government clearly
made little difference to the electorate in terms of their choice – no
wholesale defection to the right, no grateful return to the left, and hence
the minority government of the left until 1993
Socialist) forms government.
5 November 1957 Gaillard
(Radical Socialist) forms government.
14 May 1958 Pflimlin
(Popular Republican Movement) forms government.
The transition to the FifthRepublic and the Algerian issue
2 and 20 March 1956 France
recognises independence of Morocco and Tunisia.
13 May 1958 Creation of
along social and religious cleavages. Sometimes mediated by the institutional framework or anti-system cleavages – for instance the pragmatic
alliance of the centre characteristic of the Third and Fourth Republics
or the anti-Gaullist cleavage of the early FifthRepublic – the left–right
dichotomy and its economic and cultural subdimensions truly emerged
as the effective predictor of voting choice by the 1980s (Capdevielle et
al., 1981, Bartolini 1984). Nuances of patrimoine and religious practice
and the recently more complicated class structure aside, even the basic
(the Joint Programme for Government between the PS, PCF and left radicals)
for the 1978 elections. Bérégovoy was campaign manager for
Mitterrand in the Socialist presidential election victory of 1981, and again
in 1988. Under Mitterrand, he was appointed Secretary-General of the
President’s Office, the first in the FifthRepublic not to have been a
senior civil servant. As Minister of Social Affairs and National
The French Communist Party:
from revolution to reform
David S. Bell
The PCF: from revolution to reform
Under the Fourth and FifthRepublics the Parti Communiste Français
(PCF) was one of the most important forces in the shaping of the party
system. This status only began to diminish in the 1980s with the victory
of François Mitterrand in the presidential and legislative elections of
1981. Although the Communist Party is a shadow of its former self, the
shape of the party system and its behaviour over the post-war period is