Unified Socialist Party (France)

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The Unified Socialist Party (French: Parti Socialiste Unifié, PSU) was a socialist political party in France, founded on April 3, 1960. It was originally led by Édouard Depreux (from its creation to 1967), and by Michel Rocard (1967–1973).

1981 presidential election poster for PSU candidate Huguette Bouchardeau.

History[edit]

PSU was born through the fusion of the Autonomous Socialist Party (PSA), the Socialist Left Union (UGS), and the group around the journal Tribune du Communisme. The latter was a splinter-group of the French Communist Party (PCF), which had left after the 1956 inner conflict caused by the Soviet invasion of Hungary. The PSA and the UGS was a splinter-group of the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO) party, which had left in due to the repressive policy of the SFIO Prime Minister Guy Mollet during the Algerian War of Independence and his support to General Charles de Gaulle's return and the advent of the Fifth Republic under the military pressure. The three groups were closely linked from 1958. In 1961, the newly formed party was joined by Pierre Mendès-France, after he had left the Radical Party, and by Alain Savary, a former SFIO member as opposed as Mendès-France was to Charles de Gaulle's return to power in the turmoil of the May 1958 crisis.

In 1965, the PSU aligned with the SFIO and the PCF in supporting the candidacy of François Mitterrand in the presidential election. In contrast with the established socialist parties, the PSU also supported the student riots of May 1968; it subsequently moved away from cooperation with the Socialist Party (PS) which succeeded to the SFIO after 1969, and developed its own program, based on autogestion (workers' self-management).

Michel Rocard was the PSU candidate for the 1969 presidential elections, obtaining 3.61% of the vote in the first round.

The party again campaigned for Mitterrand in the 1974 presidential elections — a move which encountered the opposition of the PSU's own supporters at grassroots level; the PSU did not sign Mitterrand's Common programme of the Left (agreed with the Communists), and a sizeable section of the party activists, led by Michel Rocard and Robert Chapuis, left to join the renewed Socialist Party (believing that they could better function as a leftist tendency with the PS). The PSU supported the self-managed Lip factory.

PSU introduced Huguette Bouchardeau as its candidate for the 1981 presidential elections; she obtained 1.1% of the vote in the first round. In the 1988 presidential elections, the PSU supported the communist dissident candidate Pierre Juquin, who obtained 2.1% of the votes in the first round. In 1989, PSU merged with the New Left for Socialism, Ecology and Self-management (Juquin's movement), and formed the Red and Green Alternatives (nowadays integrated in the group Les Alternatifs).

National Secretaries of the PSU[edit]

Electoral performance[edit]

National Assembly[edit]

Year Leader First round Second round Seats in the
National Assembly
Number of votes Percentage of votes Number of votes Percentage of votes
1962
Édouard Depreux
427,467
2.33
138,131
0.90
2 / 465
1967
Édouard Depreux
495,412
2.21
173,466
0.93
4 / 487
1968
Michel Rocard
1,037,063
4.29
144,361
0.99
0 / 487
1973
Michel Rocard
778,195
3.27
114,540
0.49
1 / 488

Presidential candidates[edit]

Year Nominee First round Second round Notes
Number of votes Percentage of votes Number of votes Percentage of votes
1965
François Mitterand (FGDS)
7,694,005
31.72
10,619,735
44.80
PSU supported the candidate of the united left.
1969
Michel Rocard
816,470
3.61
eliminated
1974
François Mitterand (PS)
11,044,373
43.25
12,971,604
49.19
PSU supported the candidate of the united left.
1981
Huguette Bouchardeau
321,353
1.11
eliminated
1988
Pierre Juquin (dissident Communist)
639,084
2.10
eliminated

Members[edit]

References[edit]

  • Malfroy, Soïg, La fédération du PSU des Côtes-du-Nord face au Programme commun, IEP Rennes 2003-2004

See also[edit]