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Reformist Centre, or Reformist centre, is a political term used in various countries around the world to define various kinds of political thought, but always connected with the centre, moderation and social reformism.
Use of Reformist Centre by the Spanish People's Party
The Spanish People's Party is the main political force to use the term Reformist centre. Reformist Centre is used by the People's Party for defining itself ideologically since the second half of the 1990s, with the intention of including all the ideologies that it affirms to have in its middle: right, conservatism, Christian democracy, and liberalism.
According to the article 2 (Ideology), of the status of the People's Party:
The People's Party defines itself as a political formation of the reformist centre to the service of the general interests of Spain, which has the person as the axis of its political action and social progress as one of its objectives. With clear European vocation and inspiration in the values of freedom, democracy, tolerance and Christian humanism of western tradition, [it] defends the rights of the human being and its inherent rights and liberties; it secures democracy and the rule of law as the basis of social living and coexistence in freedom; it promotes, inside a market economy, territorial solidarity, modernisation and social cohesion as well as equal opportunity and the lead role of society through the participation of the citizens in political life; it advocates for an international community founded in peace and universal respect of the human rights.
This move on Aznar to use this term is frequently accused of simple marketing of ideas, use of an ambiguous term or of being just a right-wing/centre-right answer to social democrat/social liberal Third Way, trying to give a new moderate and centrist image to the rightist PP, without actually moving it to the centre (Javier Arenas described their claim to being centre as '(...) nor equidistance between right and left, nor the intermediate zone between liberalism and extreme socialism. It is an attitude of openness contrary to sectarianism'), instead of an actual re-ideologisation, adopting some Christian democratic concepts (even inspiring its 1989 program on the EPP's program) without actually adopting the ideology, not losing votes from other ideologies in the party.
The term is also used elsewhere, not always in a way synonym to the PP's:
- The Andorran Reformist Coalition (of which the New Centre is a member), also claimed to follow reformist centre politics (it may be seen as a clear influence of the People's Party as Andorra is a neighbour and is culturally very connected to Spain (especially Catalonia);
- the term reformist centre (or more correctly reformist centre-left) has been used to refers to some politics of New Zealand's Labour Party, to Blairite New Labour and the elements of the Turkish Democratic Left Party (Turkish: Demokratik Sol Parti, DSP) which founded the New Turkey Party. Reformist centre-left may be considered synonymous with the Third Way;
- in Indian politics the terms is sometimes used to refer to centrist who support modernising and secular politics similar to the Indian National Congress;
- The Italian Democracy and Socialism political faction refers to their position in the political spectrum as reformist centre;
- in Israel the term is used to name the Kadima Party, and many previous parties who tried to position themselves between Labour and Likud;
- during South Korea's 2007 Presidential Election, the current Democratic Party used the name Centrist Reformists Democratic Party
- in Portugal during the Marcelo Caetano phase of the Estado Novo, some opposition politicians in the Liberal Wing of the National Assembly, gathered around José Pedro Pinto Leite, described themselves as reformist centrists.
- In Venezuela, COPEI has since 2007 refused the right-wing categorization and adopted the self-description of «humanist and reformist centre»
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- Charlemagne, Jose Maria Aznar, Spain’s blinkered prime minister, Sep 13th 2001
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- Christian democratic parties in Europe since the end of the Cold War, Steven Van Hecke, Emmanuel Gerard, p. 52
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- Batiburrillo: Manuel Azaña, enemigo número uno del liberalismo en la II República, Octubre 26, 2005
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- Peace, justice and politics, The Sydney Morning Herald (3 de Novembre de 2003)
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- FE Editorial : State it like it is, The Financial Express, Saturday, 18 April 03:10 in the morning
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