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Radical Party of the Left

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Radical Party of the Left

Radical Party of the Left
Parti Radical de Gauche
Abbreviation PRG
President Jean-Michel Baylet
Founder Maurice Faure
Founded 1971 (GEARS)
1972 (MGRS)
1973 (MRG)
1994 (Radical)
1996 (PRS)
1998 (PRG)
Split from Radical Party
Headquarters 13, Rue Duroc
F - 75007, Paris
Youth wing Young Radicals of the Left
Ideology Social liberalism[1]
Political position Centre-left[3][4][5]
International affiliation None
European affiliation None
European Parliament group Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
Colours          Yellow, Azure
National Assembly
13 / 577
13 / 348
European Parliament
1 / 74
Regional Councils
54 / 1,764
Politics of France
Political parties

The Radical Party of the Left (French: Parti Radical de Gauche, PRG) is a social-liberal[6] political party in France. It has been a close ally of the major party of the centre-left in France, the Socialist Party (PS), since 1972.[7]

The President of the PRG is Jean-Michel Baylet and its Secretary-General is Guillaume Lacroix.[8] The party's sole MEP is Virginie Rozière, who sits with the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group.[9]

The party's youth wing is the Young Radicals of the Left. The party was formerly a member of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party.[10]


  • History 1
  • Ideology 2
  • Factions 3
  • Elected officials 4
  • Popular support 5
    • Presidential elections 5.1
    • Legislative elections 5.2
    • European Parliament elections 5.3
  • Leadership 6
  • See also 7
  • Notes and references 8
  • External links 9


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[11] 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.[12] Taubira gave her name to the 2001 law which declared the Atlantic slave trade a crime against humanity.[13]

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, Democratic and Progressist group (Radical, républicain, démocrate et progressiste, RRDP).

Although the PRG remains a close and loyal ally of the PS, it has also cooperated with the small Ecology Generation (GE) party since December 2011.[14] · [15]


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.

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 (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-wing politics 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[19]
1978 603,932 2.11% 10
1981 classified as PS 14[19]
1986 107,769 0.38% 7[20]
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
2012 429,059 1.65% 13

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%[21] 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 0
2014 ran on PS list 1


Party presidents:

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ La Loi Taubira, Human Rights League (France)
  14. ^ Baptême du Pôle Radical et Ecologique, Génération écologie, 21 December 2011
  15. ^ Création du "pôle radical et écologique", Parti radical de gauche, 21 December 2011
  16. ^ replacing Annick Girardin while she is a cabinet minister
  17. ^ replacing Thierry Braillard while he is a cabinet minister
  18. ^ Member of PS, sits in RRDP group, replacing Sylvia Pinel while she is a cabinet minister
  19. ^ a b
  20. ^ Including 5 elected on PS-MRG lists in various departments
  21. ^ 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)

External links

  • Official website
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