Abstract. This article traces the evolution of factions (the term preferred to that of ‘fraction’) within the French Socialist party (PS) from the early twentieth century until 1981, with special reference to the post‐1971 PS as a party of opposition. It concentrates on the causes and structures of factions, as well as their location in relation to the wider political system and the degree of political space they were able to occupy within the party. It argues that factions were divided by personal rivalries (accentuated by the presidentialised Fifth Republic), ideological and party policy differences, party strategy, power rivalries within the organisation and different historical origins. Factions corresponded more or less to a series of ideal‐types. These were the organisation faction, whose power stemmed from its position within the party organisation; the parallel faction, whose separate factional structures paralled official party ones, and the external faction, which attempted to transform external popularity into internal party strength. Four factions prevailed: Mitterrand, Mauroy, CERES and Rocard. Those headed by presidentiables enjoyed the most success, whereas the others gradually declined. The presidentialism of the French regime set the PS apart from its European counterparts.
|Number of pages||18|
|Journal||European Journal of Political Research|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 1989|
Scopus Subject Areas
- Sociology and Political Science