Radical Party of the Left

Radical Party of the Left
Radical Party of the Left
Parti radical de gauche
Leader Jean-Michel Baylet
Founded 1971 (GEARS)
1972 (MGRS)
1973 (MRG)
1994 (Radical)
1996 (PRS)
1998 (PRG)
Headquarters 13, Rue Duroc
F - 75007, Paris
Ideology Radicalism
Social liberalism
International affiliation none
European affiliation European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party (observer member)[1]
Official colours Yellow, Blue
National Assembly
7 / 577
11 / 343
European Parliament
0 / 72
Regional Councils
59 / 1,880

The Radical Party of the Left (Parti Radical de Gauche, PRG) is a minor social-liberal[2], and in opposition to its common understanding of its name, a moderate centre-left political party in France advocating radicalism, secularism to its french extend known as laïcité, progressivism, pro-Europeanism, individual freedom and differs mainly from the Social-democrats and the Socialist Party on advocating private property.

The PRG retains some support among middle-class voters and in traditional Radical areas in the South-West, but it only gains parliamentary representation by courtesy of the Socialist Party, with which it has been in close alliance since 1982, often running joint lists or candidates. The PRG is the major left-wing party in Haute-Corse, Hautes-Pyrénées and in Tarn-et-Garonne.

Its President is Jean-Michel Baylet and its Secretary-General is Elisabeth Boyer[3].

The party's youth wing are the Young Radicals of the Left.



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 the Radicals who chose to join the "Union of the Left" and to agree its Common Programme signed by the Socialist Party and the French Communist Party. 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).

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. It went through its first major crisis when Robert Fabre became close to President Giscard d'Estaing and was excluded.

Michel Crépeau was nominated by the party for the presidential candidacy in 1981. It obtained 2% in the first round and called to vote for the wining candidate François Mitterrand in the second. The Radicals of the Left played a supporting role in governmental coalition dominated by the Socialists from 1981 to 1986, and again from 1988 to 1993.

At the beginning of the 1990s, under the leadership of the popular businessmen Bernard Tapie, they hoped to benefit from the crisis of the Socialist Party. The list led by Tapie obtained just 11,98% and 13 seats[4] of the votes in the 1994 European Parliament election. However Tapie retired from politics in 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). From 1997 to 2002 it came back in government as junior component of the Plural Left coalition. In the 2002 presidential election, the PRG decided to nominate its own candidate for the first time since 1981. It chose Christiane Taubira who got 2.32% of the vote[5]. Taubira gave her name to the 2001 law which declared the Atlantic slave trade a crime against humanity[6].

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 seven out of 577 seats, in addition to two overseas seats in Guyane (Taubira) and Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon.

In the 2009 European Parliament election, the party did not run or support any list, not even the PS lists.

Elected officials

Popular support

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 for support. Almost all of the party's deputies and local officials were elected with no official Socialist opposition.

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.

The party is represented overseas in French Guiana by Christiane Taubira's Walwari, one of the major parties of the local left.

Presidential elections

President of the French Republic
Election year Candidate # of 1st round votes  % of 1st round vote # of 2nd round votes  % of 2nd round vote
1981 Michel Crépeau 642,847 2.21%
2002 Christiane Taubira 660,447 2.32%

Legislative elections

French National Assembly
Election year # of 1st round votes  % of 1st round vote # of seats
1973 classified as PS 13[7]
1978 603,932 2.11% 10
1981 classified as PS 14[7]
1986 107,769 0.38% 7[8]
1988 272,316 1.11% 9
1993 classified as PS or DVG 6
1997 389,782 1.53% 12
2002 388,891 1.54% 7
2007 343,565 1.32% 7

European Parliament elections

European Parliament
Election year Number of votes  % of overall vote # of seats won
1979 ran on PS list 2
1984 670,474 3.32%[9] 0
1989 ran on PS list 2
1994 2,344,457 12.03% 13
1999 ran on PS list 2
2004 121,573 0.71% 0
2009 did not run for office 0


Party presidents:

See also


External links