Every country has its own terms, colloquialisms, obscure lingo and weird abbreviations related to its politics. France is certainly no different, and in fact France probably uses even more obscure terms and lingo which are otherwise unintelligble to foreign readers. Here is a glossary of the main contemporary and historical terms and concepts used in French politics, as well as a list of party abbreviations and official abbreviations which I will use in this blog.

Contemporary Terms

  • Arrondissement: Departments are divided into a total of 342 arrondissements, which are purely administrative divisions without any administrative autonomy. Each arrondissement is centered around a subprefecture and is administered by a subprefect. Paris, Lyon and Marseille are divided into municipal arrondissements.
  • Assemblée Nationale: The National Assembly is the lower house of the French legislature. It is directly elected and has 577 members.
  • Ballotage: A term used to indicate that a specific candidate is qualified for the runoff. Qualifiers such as ‘favorable’, ‘défavorable’ and so forth are often used to indicate what the candidate’s chances are.
  • banlieue: Banlieue translates as ‘suburb’ and it is used as such in French. However, the term la banlieue used on its own in France traditionally refers to old working-class multicultural low-income suburbs which France is particularly (in)famous for. The term banlieue huppé refers to more affluent suburban communities, generally inner suburbs. Banlieues pavillonnaires are comfortable upper middle-class suburban communities, generally a bit more distant from the urban core. Périurbain refers to exurbs or ‘rurban’ exurban development.
  • bobos: Although no longer an exclusively French term it remains widespread in France, bobo is a portmanteau for ‘bourgeois-bohemian’, or a type of young, middle-class, educated urban professional who likes a trendy lifestyle, artsy stuff and holds socially progressive views. In an Anglophone context, they are also referred to as hipsters, champagne socialists or latte liberals. The phrase ‘wallet on the right, heart on the left’ captures the political meaning of the term pretty well. I like to use the term boboïsation to refer to gentrification in an urban setting or a broader political evolution within political movements.
  • Cantons: An electoral division used in elections to the conseil général. Created in 1790, there are some 4,039 cantons in France which are composed of one or more commune or a part of a more densely populated commune.
  • cohabitation: Cohabitation refers to the scenario in which the Parliament and Prime Minister, responsible to it, are from a different political majority than the President. This ‘cohabitation’ has happened thrice since 1958: 1986-1988, 1993-1995 and 1997-2002. However, the shortened presidential term (5 years instead of 7) since 2000 renders cohabitation far more unlikely as the presidential term is synchronized with legislative terms.
  • Collectivité territoriale: A territorial collectivity refers to structures of local governance with devolved powers, a deliberative assembly and a distinct juridical identity. Regions, departments, communes and COMs are territorial collectivities.
  • Commune: The smallest administrative division, the commune is a municipality with a directly-elected council and mayor. There are 36,682 communes in France, the highest number by far in the whole EU.
  • Congrès: The Congress is when the two houses of the Parliament meet together, often to ratify constitutional amendments. Party conventions are also called congresses.
  • Conseil constitutionnel: The Constitutional Council is the highest constitutional authority, ensuring that the principles of the constitution are upheld and that laws are constitutional. Its members include living former Presidents and nine appointed members serving for 9 years. They are named by the President (3) and the presidents of each house of Parliament (3 each).
  • Conseil général: The General Council is the directly elected deliberative assembly administering each department. Its members are elected in cantons.
  • Conseil régional: The Regional Council is the directly elected deliberative assembly administering each region. Its members are elected through proportional representation.
  • COM (collectivités d’outre-mer): Overseas collectivities (COM) are self-governing territories with wider legislative and fiscal autonomy which are still part of France and elect members to the French Parliament. French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy are COMs. New Caledonia, the TAAF and Clipperton have special statuses.
  • DOM (départements d’outre-mer): Overseas departments (DOM) are French overseas possessions which have been granted the statuses and powers of departments and regions, like other departments and region in metropolitan France. Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana and La Réunion are DOMs. Each DOM elects a general council and a regional council, but after 2012 Martinique and Guiana will elect a single legislature with slightly expanded powers. The term DOM-TOM, although obsolete since TOMs were replaced by COMs in 2003, is used colloquially to refer to the whole of overseas France.
  • CSP+/CSP-: Statistical demographic/sociological terms. CSP+ refers to more affluent socio-professional categories including managers, middle managers (cadres), artisans, small business owners and other white-collar jobs (professionals intellectuelles, professions intermédiaires). CSP- refer to less affluent socio-professional categories including manual workers (ouvriers) and farmers (agriculteurs).
  • cumul des mandats: A politician holding more than one elected office, for example being mayor and being Senator. A member of one legislature cannot be a member of any other national or European legislature. A member of a national or European legislature can only be member of one local legislature (CG, CR, Corsican Assembly, municipal council of a town with 3,500+ inhabitants). A member of a local legislature can only serve in one other local legislature. A cabinet minister cannot constitutionally serve in Parliament while in government, but no law prevents a cabinet minister from concurrently serving as head of a local executive or in a local legislature. Some 85% of French parliamentarians are cumulard, probably the highest in the world.
  • Département: The department is the oldest administrative division in France, first created in 1789. There are 101 departments in France, including 96 in metropolitan France and 5 overseas. Each department is administered by a directly-elected assembly and a prefect, the representative of the central government who is named by the government.
  • député: A member of the National Assembly, like an MP but I prefer to call them ‘deputy’ in English.
  • député-maire: The literal English translation of this term into ‘deputy-mayor’ would be inaccurate, as a député-maire refers to a politician who serves as a member of the National Assembly and as mayor of a commune at the same time. The term ‘sénateur-maire’ is the same concept, but for a Senator. Usually the deputy is mayor of the largest city in his/her constituency (chef-lieu), or in some cases a smaller town or village in the constituency. In rare cases, the deputy is mayor of a city which is not in his/her constituency: Jacques Chirac was deputy from Corrèze during the time he was mayor of Paris.
  • EPCI (intercommunalité): An EPCI is an abbreviation for Établissement public de coopération intercommunale, or “Public Establishment of Intercommunal Cooperation­”. They are often called intercommunalités. EPCIs are an administrative structure composed of many communes who have chosen to join with other communes to provide better service delivery, more efficient services, coordinating common policies or to afford certain things they could not on their own. They are the solution to the impractically of merging communes, last tried in the 1970s. There are two categories of EPCIs, each category further divided into various types of structures. The oldest types are those ‘sans fiscalité propre’, meaning their scarce resources come from contributions from individual communes. ‘Syndicates’, either single-vocation or multiple-vocation syndicates, are examples of such structures. The newest and most common types are those ‘avec fiscalité propre’ meaning that they have the power to levy taxes (housing, property etc) in stead of communes. The three main current types of such structures are urban communities (large urban areas with over 500,000 people; 450,000 after 2010); agglomeration communities (large or mid-sized urban areas with over 50,000 people with a city of over 15,000); and communautés de communes (rural or small towns). The 2010 reform will create ‘métropoles’ for urban communities with over 500,000 people who want more autonomy. Although the 2010 reform wishes to change this, not all communes in France belong to an EPCI, although the vast majority of them do. Paris, furthermore, is not a member of any EPCI and plans for a ‘Grand Paris’ of the size and population of the GLA or Berlin are always stalled.
  • exprimés: In election results, the suffrages exprimés are votes which are validly cast for a candidate, party list or option. White and invalid votes are not counted as suffrages exprimés but rather counted separately as blancs et nuls. In regional and municipal (3500+ population) elections, a party list must win at least 10% of the suffrages exprimés to qualify for the runoff.
  • inscrits: In election results, the inscrits refers to all validly registered voters. In legislative and cantonal elections, a candidate must win at least 12.5% of the registered electorate (12.5% des inscrits) to qualify for the runoff.
  • liberalism: In France, libéralisme is used in the traditional European sense: classical liberalism or more pejoratively neo-liberalism – which makes the word ‘liberal’ alone for any politician a bit of a rarity. American liberalism is often referred to as ‘social liberalism’.
  • Ministre d’État: Translated as ‘Minister of State’, in current usage in France the term is an honorific title conferred to high-ranking cabinet ministers making them second behind the Prime Minister in hierarchic order. Alain Juppé is currently the only cabinet minister with the title, which makes him – officially – Minister of State, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs.
  • Pays: A pays literally means “country” in English and the term pays has often been used in France to refer to natural, non-administrative regions with some common geographical, economic, social or cultural features. The 1999 loi Voynet created semi-administrative ‘pays’ to stimulate economic growth and facilitate regional development and planning measures. Most people would be hard-pressed to know what ‘pays’ they live in and the growth of EPCIs have limited the viability of these ‘pays’ which amount to yet another incomprehensible structure in the mille-feuille of French local government.
  • populaire: Populaire literally means ‘popular’ in English, but in a political and sociological context in France, the term populaire is attached as an adjective to a noun. For example, a quartier populaire refers to low-income, often multicultural or traditionally working-class neighborhoods or districts. Similarly, the often-used term électorat populaire denotes an old, low-income, traditionally working-class or working poor electorate.
  • Prime majoritaire: In regional and municipal elections using party-list proportional representation, the winning list is automatically awarded a prime majoritaire or majority bonus. In regional elections, this majority bonus is 25% of all seats in the regional council – the remaining 75% of seats being distributed based on a proportional basis with a 5% threshold. In municipal elections in cities with over 3,500 inhabitants, the majority bonus is half of all seats in the municipal council – the other half of seats being distributed based on a proportional basis with a 5% threshold. In practice, this guarantees stable majorities (in regional councils) or huge majorities (in municipal councils) regardless of the marginality of the results or the winning lists’ winning percentage.
  • la province: Under the Ancien Régime, France was divided into up to 40 provinces. In contemporary speech, the term la province usually refers to France outside the greater Paris region.
  • Région: France is divided into 27 regions, which form the top echelon of local governance and are administered by a directly-elected deliberative assembly. There are 21 regions in metropolitan France, in addition to Corsica which exercises regional powers but is known as a territorial collectivity. There are 4 regions in overseas France, in addition to Mayotte which exercises regional powers but has no regional council and is not referred to as a region. In metropolitan France and Corsica, each region is composed of two or more departments (up to 8). The current shape of regions, set in the 1960s, have little connection to the historical provinces or regions.
  • Scrutin (uninominal) majoritaire à deux-tours: The electoral system used in all elections in France besides European elections is the two-round system, referred to in French as the “two-round majoritary system”. In presidential elections, a candidate must win 50%+1 of the votes to win by the first round or else the top two candidates are qualified for the runoff. In legislative and cantonal elections, a candidate must win 50%+1 of the votes and at least 25% of registered voters to win by the first round or else all candidates winning over 12.5% of registered voters are qualified for a runoff (in the absence of any other candidate with 12.5% of registered voters’ support or more, the runner-up is qualified). In regional and municipal elections, a list must win 50%+1 of the votes to win by the first round or else all lists winning over 10% of the votes cast are qualified for the runoff. In these proportional elections, the seats are distributed proportionally with a 5% threshold in the round where the winning list is determined – meaning, usually in the runoff. In regional and municipal elections, lists winning under 10% of the votes in the first round but over 5% of the votes may choose to merge (fusion) with a qualified list whereby the new runoff list of the qualified slate includes some names from the disqualified list(s) which chose to merge with it. In all cases, in the runoff, only a relative majority is needed to win. In legislative elections, the threshold for runoff qualification was 5% of votes cast between 1958 and 1967, 10% of registered voters between 1967 and 1978 and 12.5% of registered voters since then.
  • Secrétaire d’État: Literally translated as ‘Secretaries of State’, in French governments the term refers to members of the government (junior ministers) who are last in the hierarchical order and do not usually sit in cabinet.
  • Sénat: The Senate is the upper house of the French legislature. It is indirectly elected and has 348 members.
  • suppléant: In all elections for single-member offices, every candidate runs with a suppléant, a substitute or alternate. In the National Assembly, the suppléant will take the seat if the elected member enters cabinet, is nominated to the Constitutional Council, dies in office or if a temporary mission entrusted to the deputy by the government is prolonged for a period of over six months. In case of the deputy’s resignation, invalidation or any other scenario, a by-election is held within 3 months but no by-elections are held within a year of the legislative term’s conclusion. In party-list elections, each party’s list has double the number of seats in the legislative organ in question (for 12 seats, a list would have 24 names) and in case of an elected member’s resignation, death or so forth the person immediately after the last candidate elected is given the seat. Since 2000, to promote gender parity, a candidate’s suppléant in cantonal elections must be of the opposite sex. In party list elections, the names on the list alternate between male and female.
  • triangulaires: A triangulaire is a runoff with three qualified candidates in legislative, cantonal, regional or municipal elections. In legislative and cantonal elections, as turnout progressively declines it is increasingly rare for more than two candidates to win over 12.5% of registered voters making triangulaires increasingly rare. In the 2007 legislative election, there was only one triangulaire. In the 2011 cantonal elections, there were only 5 triangulaires. However, in the 1997 legislative election there were 79 triangulaires (14% of all runoffs). Two-way runoffs are called duels. In some very rare cases, there are quadrangulaires but this fluke kind of situation would require full turnout nowadays. The last legislative quadrangulaire was in 1973. When the runoff qualification threshold was only 5% of votes cast, however, you could see 107 runoffs with four or more candidates like in 1958. In fact, one runoff in 1958 had six candidates!

Place names

  • Bercy: The Ministry of Finance, in Paris.
  • Élysée: Residence and office of the President, in Paris.
  • Matignon: Residence and office of the Prime Minister, in Paris.
  • Palais Bourbon: The National Assembly.
  • Palais du Luxembourg: The Senate.
  • Place Beauvau: The Ministry of the Interior, next door to the Élysée Palace, in Paris.
  • Place du Colonel Fabien: The headquarters of the PCF, in Paris.
  • Rue de la Boétie: The headquarters of the UMP, in Paris.
  • Rue de Solférino: The headquarters of the PS, in Paris.
  • Quai d’Orsay: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Paris.

Party Abbreviations, left to right

  • LO: Workers’ Struggle or Lutte ouvrière. Far-left Trotskyist party founded in 1946. Officially known as the UCI.
  • NPA: New Anticapitalist Party or Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste. Far-left anticapitalist ex-Trotskyist party founded in 2009 as the heir to the LCR.
  • PCF: French Communist Party or Parti communiste français. The communist party founded in 1920.
  • PG: Left Party or Parti de gauche. Democratic-socialist party founded in 2008, allied to the PCF.
  • FASE: Federation for a Social and Ecological Alternative or Fédération pour une alternative sociale et écologique. Eurocommunist party founded by PCF dissidents in 2010.
  • CAP: Convention for a Progressive Alternative or Convention pour une alternative progressiste. Eurocommunist/socialist party founded by PCF and PS dissidents in 1994. Also known as ADS.
  • MRC: Citizen and Republican Movement or Mouvement républicain et citoyen. Left-wing ‘republican’ and eurosceptic party founded in 2002, heir of the MDC founded by PS dissidents in 1993.
  • PS: Socialist Party or Parti socialiste. Main left-wing party, social democratic party founded in 1969. Heir of the SFIO.
  • UDB: Breton Democratic Union or Union démocratique bretonne. Left-wing regionalist party in Brittany founded in 1964.
  • EELV: Europe-Écologie-The Greens or Europe Écologie – Les Verts. Centre-left green party founded in 2010, heir of the Greens (Les Verts).
  • PRG: Left Radical Party or Parti radical de gauche. Social-liberal and radical party founded in 1972 by the left-wing of the Radical Party.
  • PNC: Party of the Corsican Nation or Partitu di a Nazione Corsa. Moderate centre-left regionalist/nationalist party in Corsica founded in 2002.
  • MoDem: Democratic Movement or Mouvement démocrate. Centrist social-liberal party founded in 2007, official successor of the UDF.
  • CAP21: Citizenship, Action and Participation for the 21st century or Citoyenneté, action, participation pour le XXIe siècle. Centrist social-liberal green party founded in 1996.
  • AEI: Independent Ecologist Alliance or Alliance écologiste indépendante. Centrist green coalition of the MEI and France en action.
  • AL: Liberal Alternative or Alternative libérale. Libertarian/classical liberal party founded in 2006.
  • AC: Centrist Alliance or Alliance centriste. Centre-right party founded in 2009.
  • NC: New Centre or Nouveau centre. Centre-right party founded in 2007 by UDF dissidents.
  • PRV: Radical Party or Parti radical (valoisien). Centre-right social-liberal and radical party founded in 1901, right-wing of the old Radical Party. Headquarters on the rue de Valois in Paris, hence the name.
  • PCD: Christian-Democratic Party or Parti chrétien-démocrate. Social-conservative and Christian democratic party founded in 2009, heir of the FRS.
  • RS: Solidary Republic or République solidaire. Neo-Gaullist centre-right party founded in 2010.
  • UMP: Union for a Popular Movement or Union pour un mouvement populaire. Main right-wing party, liberal-conservative party founded in 2002. Known as the Rassemblement-UMP in New Caledonia.
  • CNIP: National Centre of Independents and Peasants or Centre national des indépendants et paysans. Conservative party founded in 1949.
  • DLR: Arise the Republic or Debout la République. Gaullist national-conservative party founded in 2008.
  • MPF: Movement for France or Mouvement pour la France. National-conservative eurosceptic party founded in 1994.
  • CPNT: Hunting, Fishing, Nature and Traditions or Chasse, pêche, nature et traditions. Conservative agrarian hunters’ party founded in 1989.
  • Alsace d’abord: Alsace First. Far-right regionalist party in Alsace founded in 1989.
  • FN: National Front or Front national. Far-right/right-wing populist party founded in 1972.
  • PDF: Party of France or Parti de la France. Far-right party founded by FN dissidents in 2009.
  • BI: Identitary Bloc or Bloc identitaire. Far-right ethnonationalist movement founded in 2003.

Official Abbreviations used by the Ministry of the Interior

The Ministry of the Interior, the organism responsible for administering elections in France, uses its own abbreviations to classify candidates or party lists – all on its own terms and decision. This is particularly frustrating, as it does not classify minor candidates by their individual minor parties nor does it give the true partisan affiliation of all candidates on a party list. When it comes to reporting elections and maintaining election results, France is a third-world country with an incompetent ministry which can’t be bothered to upload old results, maintain its site in a user-friendly manner or use coherent abbreviations. Here is a list of the main abbreviations used by the Interior’s gnomes, and, despite their awfulness, the abbreviations we are compelled to use:

General abbreviations

  • EXG: Far-left (NPA, LO etc) candidates or lists (LEXG)
  • COM: PCF candidates or lists (LCOM or LCOP)
  • SOC: PS candidates or lists (LSOC)
  • VEC: Green (EELV) candidates or lists (LVEC)
  • DVG: Divers gauche (miscellaneous left) candidates or lists (LDVG). Refers to small left-wing parties (MRC etc), left-wing independents or dissident candidates and lists from parties such as the PS, PCF, Greens or PRG.
  • RDG: PRG candidates
  • REG: Regionalist or nationalist candidates or lists (LREG)
  • ECO: Miscellaneous green/ecologist candidates or lists (LECO). Small non-Green green parties (MEI, CAP21 etc) are grouped under this name.
  • CMD or MODM: MoDem candidates or lists (LCMD). MoDem candidates were abbreviated ‘UDFD’ in 2007.
  • DIV or AUT: Divers (miscellaneous) or others candidates or lists (LAUT or LDIV). Refers to miscellaneous parties which cannot be classified, in some cases to independents.
  • SE: Sans-étiquette or independent candidates
  • MAJ: Presidential majority (majorité présidentielle) candidates or lists (LMAJ). Used to refer to independent candidates close to or affiliated with the ‘presidential majority’. Used under both left and right-wing presidencies since the 1970s. Used in 2008, 2009 and 2010 to refer to broader UMP-led or supported party lists.
  • DVD: Divers droite (miscellaneous right) candidates or lists (LDVD). Refers to small right-wing parties (DLR, MPF, PCD etc), right-wing independents or dissident candidates and lists from parties such as the UMP.
  • UMP: UMP candidates, sometimes classified as MAJ or LMAJ.
  • FN: FN candidates or lists (LFN)
  • EXD: Far-right (non-FN, PDF, MNR etc) candidates or lists (LEXD)
Rarer (election-specific?) abbreviations
  • PG: PG candidates. Used in 2011 cantonal elections, alongside the separate COM etiquette despite the two parties forming an electoral alliance!
  • LUG: Listes d’union de la gauche or lists of the left-wing union. Used in PR list elections to refer to party lists with members of all left-wing parties (PS, PCF, EELV, PRG, DVG). Old abbreviation, but seldom used.
  • LGC: Listes gauche-centristes. Used in PR list elections to refer to party lists with left-wing candidates and centrist (MoDem) candidates. Old abbreviation which gets resuscitated in municipal elections.
  • M-NC: NC or centrist candidates of the presidential majority. Used in 2011 cantonal elections – but not all M-NC candidates were members of the NC!
  • M-C: Centrist candidates of the presidential majority. Rarely used.
  • DVC: Miscellaneous centre. Not officially used, but useful for classifying independent centrists, small centrist parties or centrist dissidents.

Historical Political terms

  • apparentements (loi des): Electoral law under the Fourth Republic used in the 1951 and 1956 elections which allowed party lists to ‘unite’ (apparentements) with other lists. If the sum of all apparentées lists was over 50% of votes casts, then all seats in the constituency were awarded to the party lists which were apparentés. In practice (in 1951), it was used by the ‘Third Force’ government to weaken the PCF and Gaullist opposition.
  • avancés: The avancés, literally “the advanced” referred to the more left-wing and radical republicans under the Second Republic and early Third Republic. They were more likely to favour anti-clerical measures, social reforms, a Jacobin conception of the republic and were more viscerally anti-monarchist and anti-Catholic than the moderates.
  • Bonapartist: Supporters of the restoration of the Bonaparte dynasty and the French Empire. Used in the modern context and by René Rémond (in his book Les droites en France) to refer to the nationalist, more authoritarian, statist and ‘plebiscitary’/populist wing of the French right – traditionally, the Gaullists.
  • Candidat officiel: During the Second Empire, an official candidate was a candidate endorsed by the government and whose campaign was undertaken by the local state authorities (prefect). Sometimes used in tongue-in-cheek manner to refer to republican candidates supported by the Third Republic’s republican apparatus (prefect, teachers etc) against monarchists.
  • Legitimist: Supporters of the restoration of the “legitimate” ruling dynasty (the Bourbons) and the monarchy. Historically, they were ultra-conservative, ultramontane clericals. Used in the modern context and by René Rémond (in his book Les droites en France) to refer to the ultra-conservative, reactionary, nationalist, traditionalist and statist wing of the French right – traditionally, the far-right (Action Française or FN).
  • modérés: The moderates referred to the more moderate and centrist republicans under the Third and Fourth Republics, also known as opportunists (opportunistes) under the Third Republic. They were originally left-wing republicans who believed that the Republic could be built only by cautious, careful little steps and moderation. They opposed too radical anti-clerical policies, social reforms and were more conciliatory vis-a-vis monarchists and Catholics. The moderates or opportunists, behind the construction of the Republic, ruled between the 1870s and 1890s.
  • Orleanist: Supporters of the restoration of the Orléans dynasty to the throne of France. Used in the modern context and by René Rémond (in his book Les droites en France) to refer to the liberal, elitist and internationalist wing of the French right – traditionally, the parliamentary right (UDF, UMP).
  • Ralliés: Moderate conservative Catholics who ‘rallied’ the Republic after 1892 on the advice of Pope Leo XIII.
  • Scrutin d’arrondissement: The electoral system used for most of the Third Republic, in which deputies were elected in single-member constituencies under a two-round system. The constituencies were based on the official arrondissements or subdivisions of large arrondissements.
  • Scrutin de liste: The electoral system used for some elections under the Third Republic, using something close to party-list proportional representation (la RP) though often with a majority bonus.
  • Sinistrisme: A little-known political neologism but one so fundamental to French politics. Sinistrisme refers to the traditional shift towards the right (conservatism) of parties which originally began as more radical left-wing parties. This phenomenon explained the tendency of the French right to continue styling itself “left” because the terms “right” and “conservative” had been tarred by their use by monarchists and ultra-conservatives. This table is my résumé of the political evolution of parties within the terms far-left, left, centre, right and far-right. The parties are placed by the category (left, right etc) which they belonged to in the day, not in the category they would belong to by modern standards of left and right. Far-left and far-right in this table also identifies parties which clearly rejected the political institutions of France at the time and supported either radical revolution or reaction.
Era Far-left Left/centre-left Centre Right/centre-right Far-right
1815-1830 Republicans Liberals Moderate royalists Ultra-royalists
1830-1848 Republicans Centre-left (Thiers) Tiers Parti Orleanist conservatives (Legitimists)
1848-1851 Montagne (democ-soc) Moderate republicans Parti de l’Ordre
1851-1871 Republicans Liberals (Thiers etc) Bonapartists (liberals and authoritarians) – Official Candidates
1871-1876 Radical Republicans Republicans Liberals (centre-left) Orleanists and centre-right
1876-1885 Socialists
Republican Union and Republican Left Moderates Orleanists
1885-1893 Socialists
Radicals (some left, not far-left)
Opportunist republicans  Moderates Conservatives
Boulangists (1889)
1893-1899 Socialists Radicals and Radical-Socialists Opportunist republicans (moderates) Conservatives and Ralliés (‘Liberals’) Monarchists and Ultramontane Catholics
Nationalists and anti-semites
1899-1920 Socialists (SFIO, 1905) Radicals and Radical-Socialists
Reformist socialists (independent socialists)
Ministerial moderate republicans (ARD) Anti-ministerial moderate republicans (‘progressives’) and Ralliés (‘Liberals’) Nationalists
1920-1940 PCF (left-wing in 1936) SFIO and Republican-Socialists Radical-Socialist Party ARD (centre-right)
Independent Radicals
FR (right)
PPF, PSF, Nationalists
1945-1958 PCF (except GPRF era) SFIO Radicals
MRP (centre-right)
Moderates, PRL, CNI (pro-system right)
Gaullists (anti-system right)
Poujadists (1956)
1958-1978 SFIO
PCF (slowly integrating parliamentary left)
Radicals UNR/UDR
MRP, CD, MR (centre d’opposition)
Independents (CNI) and RI
EXD, PFN, Occident etc
1978-2007 LO/LCR PS/PRG
DL (1997-2002)
MPF, RPF etc
UMP (after 2002)
FN and other far-right (MNR etc)
MoDem (ex-UDF) UMP

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