France - Political parties

Party descriptions and CMP left-right scores
Party Type 93 97 02 07 Average
UMP Conservative -8.9 -12 -10.5
PS Social Democratic -23.2 -13.3 -16.1 -21.3 -18.5
MoDem Conservative 10.9 3.3 7.2 -3.8 4.4
PCF Communist -38.1 -32.9 -17.5 -48 -34.1
Verts Ecologist -26.2 -27.1 -12.8 -30.2 -24
NC -
FN Nationalist 40 50.7 27.6 28.5 36.7

The table shows the periodical scores on left-right position as given in the Comparative Manifesto Project (Volkens, Andrea,, 2010). The scores range from -100 (left) to +100 (right).

Type: Tentative grouping of political parties and alliances based on information provided in the Comparative Manifesto Project and from party descriptions in Europa World Yearbook, Encyclopædia Britannica and in election reports from the European Journal of Political Research and/or Electoral Studies.

UMP - Union for a Popular Movement - (Union pour un Mouvement Populaire)

The main French conservative party founded in 2002 by members of the former RPR (Rassemblement pour la République) and Démocratie Liberale parties, in conjunction with elements of the UDF, now MoDem. RPR was a conservative party established in 1976 as a successor to the Union of Democrats for the Republic (Union des Démocrates pour la République, UDR). The party was mainly Jacques Chirac's movement and electoral machine. The party was hit by a corruption scandale at the turn of the century. In 2002, the party was merged into the UMP, and it became the largest party in parliament following the 2002 parliamentary election.

PS - Socialist Party - (Parti Socialiste)

Established in 1969 as the successor of the French section of the Workers' International (Section Française de l'Internationale Ouvrière, SIFO). The party is considered a moderate social-democratic party and embraces market economy. Since 1990, PS has occupied the presidential offices once (under Mitterand in the period from 1981 to 1995) and the prime ministerial office four times (under Rocard (1988-1991), Cresson (1991-1992), Bérégovoy (1992-1993) and Jospin (1997-2002).

MoDem - Democratic Movement - (Mouvement démocrate)

A centrist, social liberal political party founded by François Bayrou to succeed his Union for French Democracy (UDF). UDF was founded in 1978 as a union of smaller parties. The UDF has co-operated with the larger parties to the right and also experienced defections of its members to these parties. In the above table, note that the CMP scores are for the UDF only.

PCF - French Communist Party - (Parti Communiste Français)

Founded in 1920 by those in the French section of the Workers' International (Section Française de l'Internationale Ouvrière, SIFO) who supported the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. While advocating communist principles, the PCF has co-operated with social-democrats and held ministerial positions in PS-led governments (1984-1986 and 1997-2002).

Verts - The Greens - (Les Verts)

Environmentalist party founded in 1982 with the merger of Ecologist Party and Ecologist Confederation. Verts was a junior party in Jospin's coalition of 1997-2002.

NC - New Centre - (Nouveau Centre)

Formed in 2007 by members of the Union for French Democracy (UDF) who wanted to support the newly elected president Nicolas Sarkozy, continuing the UDF-Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) alliance. It supports a social market economy, seeking to find a compromise between social welfare and a competitive market economy.

FN - National Front - (Front National)

Far-right political party founded in 1972 by Jean-Marie Le Pen. The party opposes immigration, favours the return to the "traditional values" and is by many considered a xenophobic party. In the first round of the 2002 presidential election, Le Pen polled the second largest amount of votes and contested Chirac in the second round in which the latter contestant won a landslide victory.


Political Organizations (France). 2009. In Europa World online. London, Routledge. University of Bergen. Retrieved October 2009 from

Electoral Studies (Elsevier), election reports on France.

European Journal of Political Research (European Consortium for Political Research), reports on France.

Mény, Y. 2008. France: The Institutionalisation of Leadership. In J.M. Colomer, ed. Comparative European Politics. New York: Routledge, pp. 94-135.

Budge, I.; Klingemann, H.-D.; Volkens, A.; Bara, J.; Tanenbaum, E., with Fording, R.C.; Hearl, D.J.; Kim, H.M.; McDonald, M. and Mendez, S. (2001). Mapping Policy Preferences. Estimates for Parties, Electors, and Governments 1945-1998. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Klingemann, H.D.; Volkens, A.; Bara, J.; Budge, I.; McDonald, M. (2006). Mapping Policy Preferences II. Estimates for Parties, Electors, and Governments in Eastern Europe, the European Union and the OECD, 1990-2003. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Volkens, Andrea; Lacewell, Onawa; Regel, Sven; Schultze, Henrike; Werner, Annika (2010): The Manifesto Data Collection. Manifesto Project (MRG/CMP/MARPOR), Berlin: Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB):