|Description||The Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste or PS) is the main opposition party in France. Although it has historically been a democratic socialist party, and still defines itself as such, most political scientists would say that it is now a social democratic party. It was founded in 1969. A democratic socialist party has existed in France under various names since 1880. For a century, however, it had only fleeting electoral success. In 1981, under Fran篩s Mitterrand, party won both the presidency and (with allies) a majority in the National Assembly for the first time, and was president for 14 years. |
In 1984 Mitterrand and his second Prime Minister, Laurent Fabius, made a sharp change of course and abandoned any further socialist measures. Since then, the Socialists have been in practice a moderate social democratic party, largely embracing the market economy. Because of this, the Socialist party is often criticized by groups further to the left (Lutte Ouvri貥, Revolutionary Communist League, Parti des Travailleurs...) as being no more a truly left-wing party (see social-traitor). Another point of view is that the French Socialist Party aims at governing the country, while such groups only aim at being a vocal opposition in the hope of some hypothetical Communist revolution.
At the 1995 presidential election, Mitterrand retired, and the Socialist candidate, Lionel Jospin, was defeated by Jacques Chirac. In 1997, however, the Socialists gained a majority in the National Assembly and Jospin became Prime Minister, following a policy that was broadly progressive but had little to do with socialism as traditionally understood. Chirac again defeated Jospin in the presidential elections of 2002, and Jospin then retired from politics. Later in 2002 the Socialists were defeated by Chirac's allies in parliamentary elections. In the 2004 regional elections, however, the Socialists had a major comeback. In coalition with the Greens and Communists, they gained power in 21 of the 22 regions. The leader of the Socialist Party is now its secretary-general, Fran篩s Hollande.