The Left in the Fifth Republic: The Struggle for Unity

  • Neill Nugent
  • David Lowe


Attempts to achieve some sort of Left-wing unity are not peculiar to the Fifth Republic. As we saw in Chapter 2 efforts were made throughout the Third and Fourth Republics to heal, or at least paper over, the divisions which have been so much a part of the history of the Left and such a source of its weakness. These efforts ranged from attempts to bring about organic unity between the SFIO and the PCF to temporary and tenuous electoral alliances between the SFIO and the Radicals.


Presidential Election Electoral System Opinion Poll Parliamentary Election Socialist Party 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    J.J. Servan-Schreiber and M. Albert, Ciel et terre, le manifeste radical (Denoël, 1970).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Published in English as Towards a New Democracy (Collins, 1977). This quote pp.46–7.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Le Nouvel Observateur, 9 Apr. 1979.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    L’Année Politique, 1965. The terms of the charter of the FGDS are also available here, pp.442–5.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    The declaration can be found in Le Monde, 25–6 Feb. 1968.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    ‘Déclaration commune du parti communiste français et du parti socialiste’, 18 Dec. 1969. Printed in Cahiers du Communisme, Jan. 1970.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Programme Commun de Gouvernement du Parti Communiste et du Parti Socialiste (Editions Sociales, 1972).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    B.E. Brown, ‘The Common Program in France’ in B.E. Brown (ed.) Eurocommunism and Eurosocialism: The Left Confronts Modernity (Cyrco Press, 1979).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    The speech is printed in E. Fajon, L’Union est un combat (Editions Sociales, 1975).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Speech to the Socialist International at Vienna, 28 June 1972. Le Monde, 30 June 1972.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Le Monde, 21 Jan. 1975.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    This means the Left loses seats it would win if their second ballot was a Socialist and not a Communist. For an examination of its effects in 1978 see J.F. Frears and J.L. Parodi, War Will Not Take Place (Hurst, 1979) ch.6.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    D. Blume et al. Histoire du réformisme en France depuis, 1920, 2 vols. (Editions Sociales, 1976).Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    See, for example, R. Clément, ‘Un parti plus fort pour une véritable changement’, Cahiers du Communisme, Apr. 1977, pp.38–45.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    It was on this issue that the PCF campaigned most loudly before the September negotiations. See, A. Le Pors ‘Nationaliser ou pas’, France Nouvelle, 29 Aug. 1977.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Some commentators have suggested that the PS refusal to give way on this was the real sticking point for the PCF. See, for example, the interview with P. Robrieux, Le Nouvel Observateur, 30 Jan. 1978.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    L’Humanité, 19 Apr. 1979.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Le Nouvel Observateur, 23–30 Apr. 1978.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    In early 1980 Mitterrand floated the idea of a homogeneous Socialist government, but he added that this could be only on a temporary basis. Interview in France—Soir, 21 Feb. 1980.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    The PCF has improved its image over the years, but it is still deeply distrusted by a wide section of the electorate. For example, in a SOFRES poll conducted in April 1979, 46 per cent of respondents said they would not vote for the PCF in any circumstances. This was much higher than any of the other major parties, the figures for which were: UDF 18%; RPR 25%; PS 11%; MRG 16%. Le Nouvel Observateur, 1 May 1979.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Neill Nugent and David Lowe 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neill Nugent
    • 1
  • David Lowe
  1. 1.Manchester PolytechnicUK

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