Independent Republicans

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The Independent Republicans were a French liberal-conservative political group founded in 1962, which became a political party in 1966 (National Federation of the Independent Republicans). The leader was Valéry Giscard d'Estaing.

In 1977 it became the Republican Party which joined the Union for French Democracy the following year. Eventually the Republicans joined the Union for a Popular Movement in 2002.

History[edit]

The Independent Republicans came from the liberal-conservative National Center of Independents and Peasants (CNIP). In 1962, the CNIP chose to leave Charles de Gaulle's coalition due to his euro-scepticism and the presidentialisation of the regime. But, the CNIP ministers refused to left the cabinet and the "presidential majority". Under the leadership of the Minister of Economy and Finances Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, they created the group of the Independent Republicans. It was the small partner of the Gaullists which tried to influence the executive's policy in favour of economic liberalism and European federalism.

The relation with the Gaullists tensed when Giscard d'Estaing was dismissed from the cabinet in 1966. The group became a political party, the National Federation of the Independent Republicans (Fédération nationale des républicains indépendants or FNRI), directed by the general secretary Michel Poniatowski. Giscard d'Estaing defined the Independent Republicans as "liberal, centerist and pro-European". It stood in the parliamentary majority, but chosen a critical attitude. Giscard d'Estaing summed up his opinion about the Gaullist policy by a "yes, but...".

In 1969, the party divided about the referendum of regionalisation and Senate's reform. Giscard d'Estaing called to vote "no". President de Gaulle resigned when the "no" won. The FNRI supported the winning candidacy of Georges Pompidou for the presidency and its leader re-integrated the cabinet as Economy Minister.

In 1974, after President Pompidou's death, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing announced his candidacy at the presidential election. It was supported by the FNRI, the Reforming Movement and, covertly, by a part of the Gaullists. He was elected in eliminating Jacques Chaban-Delmas (Gaullist) in the first round, then in defeating François Mitterrand (Left) in the second round.

Three years later, the FNRI was replaced by the Republican Party (PR) which became the liberal-conservative wing of the Union for French Democracy (UDF) created in 1978.

Third Republic[edit]

During the French Third Republic, a number of parliamentary groups in the Chamber of Deputies united conservative and right-wing members. A similar group, the Republican Independents also existed, uniting most of the far-right.