Radical Party of the Left
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (May 2011)|
|Radical Party of the Left
Parti radical de gauche
|Headquarters||13, Rue Duroc
F - 75007, Paris
|Youth wing||Young Radicals of the Left|
|Politics of France
The Radical Party of the Left (French: Parti Radical de Gauche, PRG) is a social-liberal political party in France. It has been a close ally of the major centre-left party in France, the Socialist Party (PS), since 1972.
The party was formed in 1972 by a split from the Republican, Radical, and Radical-Socialist Party, once the dominant party of the French Left. It was founded by Radicals who opposed Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber's centrist direction and chose to join the Union of the Left and agree to the Common Programme signed by the Socialist Party (PS) and the French Communist Party (PCF). At that time the party was known as the Movement of the Radical-Socialist Left (Mouvement de la Gauche Radicale-Socialiste, MGRS), then as the Movement of Radicals of the Left (Mouvement des Radicaux de Gauche, MRG) (after 1973).
Led by Robert Fabre in the 1970s, the party was the third partner of the Union of the Left. Nevertheless, its electoral influence did not compare with those of its two allies, which competed for the leadership over the left. Robert Fabre sought to attract left-wing Gaullists to the party and gradually became close to President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, who nominated him as Mediator of the Republic in 1978. He and his followers were excluded from the party by those who strongly supported the alliance with the PS.
Michel Crépeau was nominated by the party for the 1981 presidential election, and obtained a disappointing 2.09% in the first round. He and his party endorsed PS candidate François Mitterrand in the runoff, who eventually won. The MRG won 14 seats in the subsequent legislative election and participated in PS-led governments between 1981 and 1986 and again between 1988 and 1993.
In the 1984 European elections, the MRG formed a common list with Brice Lalonde's environmentalists and Olivier Stirn, a centre-right deputy. The list, styled ERE (Entente radicale écologiste) won 3.32% but no seats. The party resumed its customary alliance with the PS in the 1986 legislative election and supported President François Mitterrand's 1988 reelection bid by the first round.
At the beginning of the 1990s, under the leadership of the popular businessman Bernard Tapie, the party benefited from an ephemeral upswing in its popularity while the governing Socialist Party was in disarray. The list led by Tapie won 12.03% and 13 seats of the votes in the 1994 European Parliament election. However Tapie retired from politics due to his legal problems and the party, renamed the Radical-Socialist Party (Parti Radical-Socialiste, PRS), returned to its lowest ebb.
After the Radical Party opened legal proceedings against the PRS, it was forced to change its name to Radical Party of the Left (Parti Radical de Gauche, PRG). Between 1997 to 2002 it was a junior partner in Lionel Jospin's Plural Left coalition. In the 2002 presidential election, the PRG nominated its own candidate, former MEP and French Guiana deputy Christiane Taubira, for the first time since 1981. However, some members of the party including Émile Zuccarelli and PRG senator Nicolas Alfonsi supported Jean-Pierre Chevènement's candidacy. Taubira won 2.32% of the vote. Taubira gave her name to the 2001 law which declared the Atlantic slave trade a crime against humanity.
In the 2007 presidential election, while the party supported the Socialist candidate Ségolène Royal, Bernard Tapie, who had been a leading figure in the PRG, supported Nicolas Sarkozy. In the 2007 legislative election the party won eight seats, including a seat in French Guiana (Taubira) and Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon.
The party split Nicolas Sarkozy's constitutional reforms in 2008. Six deputies (Gérard Charasse, Paul Giacobbi, Annick Girardin, Joël Giraud, Dominique Orliac, Sylvia Pinel) and three senators (Jean-Michel Baylet, André Boyer, François Vendasi) opted to vote in favour, hence allowing for its passage.
The PRG's president, Jean-Michel Baylet, ran in the 2011 Socialist presidential primaries - the only non-PS candidate in the field - but he placed last with only 0.64% of the vote in the primary. The PRG supported François Hollande, the eventual winner of the primaries and the 2012 presidential election. In the 2012 legislative election, the PRG won 12 seats. With four additional members, it formed its own parliamentary group in the National Assembly, the Radical, Republican, Democrat and Progressive group(Radical, républicain, démocrate et progressiste, RRDP).
The party has three ministers in Jean-Marc Ayrault's incumbent government: Christiane Taubira, minister of justice; Sylvia Pinel, minister of crafts, trade and tourism; and Anne-Marie Escoffier, junior minister for decentralization.
The PRG advocates radicalism, secularism to its French extent known as laïcité, progressivism, European federalism, individual freedom and differs mainly from the social democrats of the Socialist Party by its strong attachment to private property.
Under Baylet, the PRG's party line has been centre-left, socially liberal and pro-European. Nevertheless, there are internal divisions in the party. Former cabinet minister and former deputy Émile Zuccarelli is a left-wing republican, who has strongly opposed Corsican nationalism and supported the NO in the 2005 European constitutional referendum, positions much closer to Jean-Pierre Chevènement's Citizen and Republican Movement (MRC). Similarly, Christiane Taubira supported the NO in 2005 and endorsed Arnaud Montebourg rather than Baylet in 2011 primary.
- Deputies: Thierry Baillard (Rhône), Gérard Charasse (Allier), Jeanine Dubié (Hautes-Pyrénées), Paul Giacobbi (Haute-Corse), Annick Girardin (Saint Pierre et Miquelon), Joël Giraud (Hautes-Alpes), Jacques Krabal (Aisne), Dominique Orliac (Lot), Sylvia Pinel (Tarn-et-Garonne), Stéphane Saint-André (Pas-de-Calais), Roger-Gérard Schwartzenberg (Val-de-Marne), Alain Tourret (Calvados). Jean-Claude Gouget (Lot-et-Garonne) is a member of the PRG but sits in the PS group.
- Senators (RDSE Group): Jean-Michel Baylet (Tarn-et-Garonne), Yvon Collin (Tarn-et-Garonne), Nicolas Alfonsi (Corse-du-Sud), François Vendasi, (Haute-Corse), Raymond Vall (Gers), Anne-Marie Escoffier (Aveyron), François Fortassin (Hautes-Pyrénées), Françoise Laborde (Haute-Garonne), Jacques Mézard (Cantal), Jean-Claude Requier (Lot), Jean-Pierre Plancade (Haute-Garonne), Robert Tropéano (Hérault)
The PRG remains rather weak on its own electorally, averaging around 2% of the vote (2002 presidential candidate Christiane Taubira won 2.32% of the vote); which explains why the party depends on its stronger ally, the Socialist Party (PS) for support and parliamentary representation. Almost all of the party's deputies and local officials were elected with no official Socialist opposition. It retains some support among middle class voters and in traditional Radical areas in the South West.
The major exception is in Corsica, where the party has historically been the largest party on the non-nationalist left and remains so to this day, due to a tradition of political dynasties (such as the Giacobbi family) and the weak infrastructure of the PS on the island. Paul Giacobbi represents Haute-Corse in the National Assembly (Émile Zuccarelli, an internal rival of Giacobbi and current mayor of Bastia also represented the island in Paris until his 2007 defeat), and Senators Nicolas Alfonsi and François Vendasi represent the Corsican PRG in the Senate. Giacobbi is also President of the general council of Haute-Corse.
In metropolitan France, the PRG is able to sustain a long-lasting Radical tradition dating back to the French Third Republic, most notably in the southwest or departments such as the Eure-et-Loir and Eure.
|Election year||Candidate||# of 1st round votes||% of 1st round vote||# of 2nd round votes||% of 2nd round vote|
|Election year||# of 1st round votes||% of 1st round vote||# of seats|
|1973||classified as PS||13|
|1981||classified as PS||14|
|1993||classified as PS or DVG||6|
European Parliament elections
|Election year||Number of votes||% of overall vote||# of seats won|
|1979||ran on PS list||2|
|1989||ran on PS list||2|
|1999||ran on PS list||2|
|2009||did not run||0|
- Robert Fabre (1972–1978)
- Michel Crépeau (1978–1981)
- Roger-Gérard Schwartzenberg (1981–1983)
- Jean-Michel Baylet (1983–1985)
- François Doubin (1985–1988)
- Yvon Collin (1988–1989)
- Émile Zuccarelli (1989–1992)
- Jean-François Hory (1992–1996)
- Jean-Michel Baylet (1996–present)
Notes and references
- Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe". Parties-and-elections.eu. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- Ari-Veikko Anttiroiko; Matti Mälkiä (2007). Encyclopedia of Digital Government. Idea Group Inc (IGI). pp. 389–. ISBN 978-1-59140-790-4. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- Aurélien Mondon (1 March 2013). The Mainstreaming of the Extreme Right in France and Australia: A Populist Hegemony?. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. pp. 27–. ISBN 978-1-4724-0526-5. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
- David S. Bell (1 January 2002). French Politics Today. Manchester University Press. pp. 65–. ISBN 978-0-7190-5876-9. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
- "Equipe Dirigeante - Parti Radical de Gauche". Planeteradicale.org. Retrieved 2013-07-03.
- "ELDR Council: between a rock and some very hard places indeed...". Libdemvoice.org. 2012-05-18. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- "CEVIPOL - Electoral results: France - European elections of 1994". Dev.ulb.ac.be. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- "CEVIPOL - Electoral results: France - Presidential elections of 2002". Dev.ulb.ac.be. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- La Loi Taubira, Human Rights League (France)
- Baptême du Pôle Radical et Ecologique, Génération écologie, 21 December 2011
- Création du "pôle radical et écologique", Parti radical de gauche, 21 December 2011
- replaced by Jacques Moignard (PS, sits in RRDP group) while she is a cabinet minister
- "Chronologie des radicaux de gauche MRG PRG". France-politique.fr. 2007-02-17. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- Including 5 elected on PS-MRG lists in various departments
- Results of the Entente radicale écologiste pour les États-Unis d'Europe, which included the MRG but also ecologists (Brice Lalonde) and centrists (Olivier Stirn)