French Politics and Public Policy

Case Study
Pages 12 (3012 words)
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In the recent 2007 French Presidential election, Segolene Royale, a member of the Socialist Party (PS) lost the election to UMP candidate Nicholas Sarkozy. In the attendant legislative election of the same year, the Socialists are a strong minority in the Assembly, and for the first time during the Fifth Republic the Communist Party of France (PCF) failed to gain more than requisite number of seats to caucus as a unit, and were forced to align in a leftist coalition known as the Democratic and Republican Left.1 The precipitous decline of the role of the PCF in French politics has been manifesting itself for some time.


An examination of the theoretical and ideological apparatuses that precipitated this political shift along with a presentation of cultural and political events that led to a realignment of political strategies of the two parties will be followed by an inquiry into the organizational and leadership practices and beliefs of the two groups. The subsequent analysis of the ebb and flow of the respective fortunes of the PS and PCF should reveal that the Political Left in France has operated under a "Coalition as Rivalry"2 paradigm to the ultimate benefit of the PS and the seemingly irrecoverable detriment of the PCF.
Forming out of the Section Francaise de I'lnternationale Ouvriere (SFIO) in 1905, the Socialist Party was cobbled together with an uneasy mix of Marxists, members of worker's parties, revolutionaries and reformists.3 The uneasiness of this arrangement eventually led to a splintering of the "feeble" alliance and at the 1920 Congress of Tour, what was to become the PCF was formed.4 The rather hard ideologic ...
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