Contemporary developments in political space in France
in The French party system

This chapter focuses on the French political space over the last fifteen years as defined by the socio-demographic and attitudinal profiles of the voters. It draws upon the findings from the two major studies of French voters in the last ten years, namely L'électeur français en questions and L'électeur a ses raisons. The tripartition argument implies that the extreme right possesses a basis for long-term stable identification. In other words, the social and ideological characteristics of its electorate should be quite distinct from the two traditional political blocs. The chapter also focuses on the hypothesis of mass ideological convergence in the left bloc prior to the gauche plurielle incumbency. The chapter describes two principal partisan developments of 1988, the growth and implantation of the Front National (FN) and the establishment of the gauche plurielle governing coalition to assess the extent to which change took place during this period.

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