Managing the plural left
Implications for the party system
in The French party system

This chapter examines the motivations of the Parti Socialiste (PS), principal mover in the strategy, and those of its partners. The plural-left strategy reflected PS's views about the left-party sub-system. The chapter also examines what the plural left implied in terms of day-to-day relations between its components, especially in the light of recent government experience. The plural-left experiment had clearly had consequences for the party system, mostly for the left sub-system, though also for the system as a whole. Noël Mamère's pragmatic campaign rescued them from the electoral consequences of undiluted radicalism and saved their election expenses. The plural left sustained a viable social-democratic government up to the 2002 elections. The success of the plural left brought out a constant of the French party system ever since it first became recognisable in the late nineteenth century.

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