European Democratic and Social Rally

European Democratic and Social Rally

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The European Democratic and Social Rally (French: Rassemblement démocratique et social européen, RDSE) is a social-liberal parliamentary group representing the Radical tradition in the French Senate.



Chamber of Deputies

In the Chamber of Deputies of France during the French Third Republic, the Democratic Left was formed in 1905 by moderate republicans who were members of the centrist to centre-right Democratic Republican Alliance (ARD).


The group was established in 1892 under the name of Democratic Left and since 1901 it consisted basically of the Republican, Radical and Radical-Socialist Party (Rad.) and it is thus the oldest political group in the Senate.

In 1989 the group changed its denomination, taking the current one. The group was led by Jacques Pelletier, a Radical, from 1982 to 1988 and then from 1998 to his death in 2007. He was replaced by Pierre Lafitte, a Radical too, who was defeated in the 2008 election. Since 2008 the group has been led by Yvon Collin, a member of the Radical Party of the Left (PRG).

Historical members of the party include Arthur Ranc, Émile Combes, Georges Clemenceau, Paul Doumer, Gaston Doumergue, Édouard Herriot, Henri Queuille, Gaston Monnerville, François Mitterrand, Edgar Faure, Jean-Pierre Fourcade and Jean François-Poncet. Between 1946 and 1964 François Mitterrand, at the time member of the Democratic and Socialist Union of the Resistance (UDSR), was a leading member of the Rally of Republican Lefts (RGR), the alliance between the Radicals and UDSR.


The group is currently a bipartisan outfit. As French politics is becoming increasingly close to a two-party system, this heterogeneous group is a sort of anachronism. Moreover, differently from other political groups, RDSE is characterized by no party discipline as its members are always free to vote as they please.

Since 2008 the group, which has been predominantly Radical and centre-right in 2004–2008, has opened its doors to other parties of the left, has now a centre-left majority and is increasingly similar to other miscellaneous left-wing groups in the National Assembly.

Before joining the group of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) in 2002, most senators of the Radical Party were members of RDSE, while a centrist senator of the Union for French Democracy (UDF) joined briefly the group from 2001 to 2002. Since 2008 five Radical senators out of six are members of the UMP group and only one is still a member of RDSE.


In 2004–2008 RDSE was composed of 17 senators, including:


Since 2008 RDSE has been composed of 18 senators, including:


  • 1892–1893: Arthur Ranc
  • 1893–1894: Émile Combes
  • 1894–1895: Henri de Verninac
  • 1895–1896: Jean Bernard
  • 1896–1897: Jean-Baptiste Baduel
  • 1897–1899: Paul Peytral
  • 1899–1900: Maxime Lecomte
  • 1900–1905: Frédéric Desmons
  • 1905–1907: Émile Combes
  • 1907–1911: Adrien Savary
  • 1911–1920: Émile Combes
  • 1920–1924: Gaston Doumergue
  • 1924–1943: Jean-Baptiste Bienvenu-Martin
  • 1946–1948: Jules Gasser
  • 1948–1951: Charles Brune
  • 1951–1962: Henri Borgeaud
  • 1962–1968: Pierre de La Gontrie
  • 1968–1978: Lucien Grand
  • 1978–1981: Gaston Pams
  • 1981–1982: René Touzet
  • 1982–1988: Jacques Pelletier
  • 1988–1989: Josy Moinet
  • 1989–1995 : Ernest Cartigny
  • 1995–2001 : Guy-Pierre Cabanel
  • 2001–2007 : Jacques Pelletier
  • 2007–2008 : Pierre Laffitte
  • 2008–present: Yvon Collin


  • 1892–1907: Democratic Left (Gauche démocratique)
  • 1907–1949: Radical and Radical-Socialist Left (Gauche démocratique radicale et radicale-socialiste)
  • 1949–1952: Rally of Republican Lefts and the Democratic Left (Rassemblement des Gauches Républicaines et de la Gauche Démocratique)
  • 1952–1956: Democratic Left and Rally of Republican Lefts (Gauche démocratique et du Rassemblement des gauches républicaines)
  • 1956–1989: Democratic Left (Gauche démocratique)
  • 1989–1995: European Democratic Rally (Rassemblement démocratique européen)
  • 1995–present: European Democratic and Social Rally (Rassemblement démocratique et social européen)

External links

French Senate amphitheater 050917 162927.jpg Groups in the French Senate

Administrative Meeting for Senators not on the list of another Group  · Centrist Union
 · Communist, Republican, Citizen, and Senators of the Left Party Group  · European Democratic and Social Rally
 · Socialist  · Union for a Popular Movement

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