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Socialist Party of France
France-parti-socialiste svg
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Created: 1969
Political Ideology: Social Democracy,Democratic Socialism,"Third Way"
Leader Martine Aubry
HQ 10, rue de Solférino

75333 Paris Cedex 07


The Socialist Party of France is the main leftwing opposition in France. It was founded in 1969 after a split in the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO, which was informally known as the Socialist Party). It held considerable power in the 1980s but in 1993 it lost nearly 200 seats in the French Assembly. Since then it has worked to regain its power and currently has 186 seats in the Assembly. It is part of Socialist International.

History Edit

Its first electoral test was a success in 1973 when it gained 4.5 million votes, higher then the aimed 3 million by party leaders. In 1974 it chose François Mitterrand to run for President. He passed the first round and went on the get 49 percent of the vote. The Socialist Party built on their success in 1974 by winning additional seats in 1978, bumping up its power in the assembly to over 100.

In 1981 the Socialist Party made huge gains and entered into position of ruling France. François Mitterrand was elected President with 51.8 percent of the vote. Their power in the assembly more then doubled to 266. The party hit some rocky waters in 1986 when they lost 60 seats. They rebounded in 1988 when François Mitterrand was reelected with 54 percent of the vote. They gained back seats to 260.

Massive DefeatEdit

In 1993 the French Socialist Party had been hit with major political scandals. Though Mitterrand remained in power the party was wracked with scandals. There was rivilarly in the party itself and scandals such as illicit financing. They where reduced to a third party in the senate with only 53 seats. In 1995 Mitterrand's second term was up. 1995 brought better news as Lionel Jospin won 47 percent of the vote, and signalled a potential return to power for the Socialists. By 1997 they were back in power.

Lionel Jospin's PremiershipEdit

In spring 1997, President Chirac dissolved the National Assembly but lost the legislative election. Alain Juppé was succeeded as prime minister by the Socialist Lionel Jospin. Furthermore, Juppé left the leadership of the RPR (Chirac's Gaullist "Rally for the Republic", a right-leaning party). The Socialists had also managed to gain back seats in the Assembly, 246 to be exact. This newfound power did not last long.

2002: The Year of FascistsEdit

In 2002 everyone was shocked when not only did Lionel only get defeated in the first round but he was beaten by a far-right, nearly fascist candidate. Jean-Marie Le Pen ran against Jacques Chirac. Lionel urged his supporters to vote "for the crook not the fascist". 2002 also resulted in the Socialists again losing many seats, down to 141.


Today Edit

In 2007 Ségolène Royal managed to get 47 percent of the vote. Also the party regained many seats, although not in the 200s they managed to score 40 more seats into the 180s. Martine Aubry has recently been elected to lead the Socialist Party. She is also currently the Mayor of Lille (a northern city). In May 2008 a poll showed that if French voters could vote again, they would elect Ségolène Royal by 53% compared to Nicolas Sarkozy with 47%.


On March 14th 2010, the first round of the Regional elections went heavily in the Socialists' favour.
The second round was on Sunday March 21st. The Socialist party went united with "Europe Ecologie" (the Green party) and toguether they turn again to a major victory for the left, winning all (but one) french "Régions métropolitaines".
But the Front National party (FN) "extrême droite" (far-right) got nearly 20% in many Regions, expressing a voting radicalisation.

Sources and More Reading Edit

The Parties Site

Time Line of French Politics in General

Profile of Segolene Royal

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