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Politics in France Political parties and political elite.

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Presentation on theme: "Politics in France Political parties and political elite."— Presentation transcript:

1 Politics in France Political parties and political elite

2 Low confidence in parties

3 Multiparty system National Assembly election in 2002 –79 parties presented 8,424 candidates –4 main parties got 68% of the votes –7 parties are in the National Assembly –formed into 5 parliamentary groups weak party organization –fragmentary and local orientation –abstract and ideological style

4 Single-member districts


6 Main parties Rally for the Republic (RPR) Union for French Democracy (UDF) National Front (FN) Socialist Party (PS) French Communist Party (PCF) Greens


8 Left parties/Right parties/FN Men38%42%13% Women40%43%11% 18-2440%39%6% 25-3445%26%16% 35-4949%35%11% 50-6435%49%13% 65+28%57%13%

9 Rally for the Republic (RPR) Gaullist party held both presidency and premiership 1958 - 1974 transformed into RPR by Chirac in 1974 classic conservative constituency –older, wealthier voters –farmers largest party in France (100,000 members)

10 Union for French Democracy UDF Electoral alliance of various conservative and central groups in 1978 cooperated with RPR since 1981 UDF split in 1998: Liberal Democracy (DL) RPR, DL, and part of UDF formed UMP (Union for the People's Movement) in 2002

11 National Front (FN) founded in 1972 by Le Pen fears of immigration, the “dilution” of French nationality and culture, and European integration present racist ideas with a more acceptable pro-family and patriotic veneer split in 1999

12 National Front (FN) proportional representation rule –YearVotes in 1st ballot Seats in Parliament –19869.9%35 reversion to single-member district rule –19889.8%1 –199312.7%0 –199715.1%1 –200211.3%0

13 Duverger’s Law Plurality single-member district election rules tend to create two-party systems in the legislature –smaller parties that receive a minority of the vote across many district receive little or no representation in Parliament Proportional representation electoral systems generate multiple party systems in the legislature

14 2002 elections Presidential candid./ 1st ballot/ 2nd ballot –Chirac (RPR)19.9%82.2% –Le Pen (FN)16.9%17.8% –Jospin (PS)16.2% National Assembly/ 1st ballot/ Seats –RPR & DL33.7%357 –PS24.1%140 –FN11.3%0

15 Parties on the left Socialist Party (PS) –support from the salaried middle classes professionals civil service teaching profession Mitterrand’s Presidency (1981 - 1995) –classical socialist ideology was dismantled

16 Parties on the left French Communist Party (PCF) –ceased to be a revolutionary party –electorally dominant on the left until 1978 –cooperation with PS

17 Interest groups Connections with political parties –ideological roots and commitments –weak organizational connections with parties relatively small membership base –1/10 of workers, 1/2 of farmers, 3/4 of large industrial enterprises ideological division of representation –radicalism in action and announced objectives

18 Economic policy Gaullists’ “thirty glorious years” –nationalization of firms –General Planning Commission –state intervention decline since 1973 –privatization and nationalization of firms –unemployment rate over 10% since 1986 –burden of the welfare state

19 Welfare state


21 Elite recruitment Grandes écoles –ENA: National School of Administration graduates dominate –key branches of civil service –key positions in politics –top business executives

22 “Political class” Political elite - decision makers –Parliament members –elected local government officials –local party leaders –journalists of national renown –… –no more than 15 to 20 thousand people

23 “Iron triangle” Top civil servants –in National Assembly –training and recruitment grounds for top positions in both politics and industry Effort at opening up the narrow elite recruitment process since 1980s –new admissions procedures –top bureaucrats impact national government

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