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What are the Main Political Parties in France?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 23, 2024
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France is a representative democratic republic like the United States. France differs slightly in political organization, however, with the most fundamental difference being that political power in France is split between the President and a Prime Minister, who leads the political party that holds majority in Parliament. Also unlike the United States, France has more than two dominant political parties.

While the political parties in France can be divided into right and left leaning parties, the political party spectrum is much more broadly represented than in the United States. The French government, conceivably, can take the views and desires of a wide range of citizens into account. France also has a number of political parties with views that support Communism and worker's rights. The goals of these parties are represented in Parliament, ensuring more protection for the working class.

Historically, Rally for the Republic was probably the most powerful political party in France. It generally took approximately one-fifth of each election, and over time, several smaller parties aligned with Rally for the Republic for more political clout. Rally for the Republic was founded in 1976 by Jacques Chirac. In 2002, the political party merged with several other major political parties to form Union for a Popular Movement.

Union for a Popular Movement is a political party established to bolster the Presidential bid of Jacques Chirac. The merger included Union for a French Democracy and the Democratic Liberals. Officially, the merger was meant to consolidate political power and foster cooperation between three frequently battling political parties. Unofficially, the Union for a Popular Movement created a political party which would ensure victory for Chirac and dominate Parliament. The Union for a Popular Movement is a moderate political party with many progressive policy reforms to its credit.

Another powerful political party in France is the Socialist Party. In Europe, Socialists are differentiated from Communists, with many nations having a substantial Socialist majority. The Socialist party is committed to worker's rights, access to health care and education for all citizens, as well as state support for citizens in need. The Socialist Party cooperates with other left of center political parties including the Greens and the Left Radical to advance their aims.

The National Front is a political party which is also active in France, mostly regionally. The National Front is a right of center, nationalist political party which has been accused by detractors of being racist, anti-Semitic, and far-right. The party promotes traditional French values, higher tariffs on imports, more separation from Europe and reinstatement of the death penalty. The National Front is opposed to immigration and liberal movements. While the National Party rarely gains seats on the national level, it does exert power in some regions of France, especially those struggling with immigration issues.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Historical Index researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By anon268001 — On May 12, 2012

What are the names of the political parties then, because that is the title? I need the info quick. I have a project due in three days. Please help!

By suntan12 — On Nov 10, 2010

Crispety-The Tea Party political party is not a party per se, but more of a movement in the United States.

Here the Republicans that are not traditional Republicans are feeling that the Tea Party approved candidates are usurping their power and there is a minor power struggle going on there too.

The Jim DeMint wing of the party wants everyone that is not a true conservative out and will run candidates against those establishment candidates.

The other side of the spectrum is the Lindsey Grahams of the world that compromise constantly with the other side and take a more moderate stance with regard to immigration and cap and trade bills.

By Crispety — On Nov 10, 2010

Moldova- Political party issues usually occur when there is infighting and one wing of the party wants to take control over the other.

For example, in the American political party of the Democrats, there is infighting because there is a moderate wing and an extreme leftist wing that are fighting to seek power.

After a recent congressional election in the United States, the Democrats lost a historic 63 seats in the House of Representatives.

This caused a problem for the moderates of the party because they felt that the country is becoming more conservative and it is the far left policies that have gotten them in this predicament.

Steny Hoyer is a moderate Democrat that wants to be Minority leader, but Nancy Pelosi, who was the former Speaker of the House wants to remain in power despite historic losses.

By Moldova — On Nov 10, 2010

GreenWeaver- The French Presidents political party is really facing some opposition because they are raising the retirement age to 62 instead of 60.

I think that France is lucky to have a leader like Sarkozy because they really need to understand that in today’s economy many countries are suffering shortfalls that they have to make up.

In France, it is mandatory that people receive 6 weeks vacation a year and most French citizens do not work a full 40 hours a week. This would be a dream in the U.S.

It is not unreasonable to expect more from the citizens of France especially during these times.

The functions of political parties are to get their candidates elected to further their agenda. The definition of a political party also espouses certain values that are put together to form a platform.

A party’s platform explains the party’s viewpoints on certain major issues. Sarkozy's party is clearly aligned with a conservative movement.

By GreenWeaver — On Nov 10, 2010

Anon9616- I know that the current President of France is from the Union for a Popular Movement party.

This is a conservative party that has also been referred to as the Rally for the Republic and the Union for French Democracy.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the current President of France was actually born in Budapest. It was his experiences as a young man that led to his conservative ideology.

He observed the Red Army taking all of his family’s belongings and knew first hand what communism was all about. He wanted to improve the French economic state and develop a stronger work ethic.

By anon9616 — On Mar 09, 2008

Can you please list the names of the political parties of france by tonight!!!??? Please hurry! I have a project due tomorrow and i need information and i really would appreciate it if it was on this website by tonight...


anonymous blonde

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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