PS intra-party politics and party system change
in The French party system

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.

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