Analyse The Historical And Cur Essay

2154 words - 9 pages

The French Socialist Party (PS) was established by the conversion of the Section francaise de l'internationale ouvriere (SFIO) in to the PS in 1969. However it wasn't until 1971 at the Epinay-sur-seine conference, when Francois Mitterrand emerged as leader that it began its transformation into France's leading political party. In order to understand the transition that took place within the socialist ranks in the 1980's in France it is necessary to have an idea of the history of the left (RBB, 2000). During the Fourth Republic the Socialists (SFIO) adopted an anti communist stance, due to the influence of the Cold War ethos. It was also deeply involved in the coalition governments of the time often involved in policy and decision making of things that did not tow the party line. For example the SFIO were during the miners' strike in 1948 it was the socialist interior minister, Jules Moch, who sent in troops against striking miners which resulted in at least two deaths (Forbes an Hewlett, 1998, p.17). During the 1960's the political parties of the left were sorely divided which hit them hard during the elections as low support showed.The problem the left had was the dominant position that the communist party (PCF) had always held, this made it difficult to create a large socialist government. It was in the 1970's that the PS started to make concerted efforts to end this period of dominance. The PS proceeded to ally with the communists rather than fight against them, The agreement they came to was called the Common Program and came into place in 1972. This move was a deliberate one by the PS and it resulted in growth and consolidation of the PS at the expense of the PCF. The co-operation was simply a means to an end for the PS. This end was to create a socialist not communist dominance of the left.The 1974 presidential election was a close run affair. With Pompidou's death the right had been left without an agreed candidate, the economy was deteriorating with inflation at 17%, and unemployment was rising (Gildea, 1997, 97-98). The left on the other hand was united behind Mitterrand, his control over the PS ensuring that factions were quiet. Plus Communist (PCF) support was guaranteed with the Common Program. By the time campaigning started Mitterrand was able to consider himself to be bound by no agreements and campaign on his own platform of moderate reform. Although the PS was locked in to specific policies such as ideas of worker democracy, Mitterrand as presidential candidate was able to build a wider coalition of support including left-leaning Catholics, and ex-gaulists. Mitterrand came within a hair's breadth of beating Giscard d'Estaing getting 49.2% of the vote and the PS did very well in local elections in 1976 and 1977 (Forbes and Hewlett, 1998, p.16). All this led to Mitterrand's position to be strengthened and the PCF's weakened.Then on the 10th May Mitterrand was elected and for the first time since the Popular Front, a predominantly...

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