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French political party, founded in 1905, that supported far-reaching nationalization of the economy. Socialism in France evolved from such 19th-century theorists as Henri de Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier, Louis Auguste Blanqui, and Louis Blanc and from the activities of French Marxists. Led by Jean Jaurès, the party grew quickly, though it suffered a setback with the separation of the left wing into the French Communist Party (1920). In the 1930s the French Socialist Party was central to Léon Blum's Popular Front government. In World War II the party participated in the Resistance and cooperated with Charles de Gaulle, emerging after the war as France's second largest party. It soon lost strength; in 1969 it won only 5% of the vote. Renamed the Socialist Party in 1969, it was revived by François Mitterrand and adopted more moderate policies, but it lost its dominant position in the 1990s. The 2002 elections proved disastrous for the Socialists, who won less than one-fourth of the seats in the National Assembly, but in 2007 they rebounded and took nearly one-third of the seats. Also in 2007, Socialist Ségolène Royal became France's first woman to advance to the second round of a presidential election. However, she lost both the runoff (to conservative Nicolas Sarkozy) and, in 2008, her bid to become head of the party. The narrow victory of Martine Aubry in the latter contest accentuated persistent divisions among the Socialists.
Variants of SOCIALIST PARTY
Socialist Party French Parti Socialiste, originally (1905–69) French Section of the Workers' International
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Socialist Party, visit Britannica.com.
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