The terminal collapse of the French Socialist Party

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The French Socialist Party emerged from last Sunday’s legislative election first round in tatters, dwarfed not only by the massive surge of president Emmanuel Macron’s new centrist party, but also the conservatives, the far-right and, importantly, the radical-left. The results followed its disastrous score in the presidential elections, and it is forecast to be put to the sword in the final round this coming weekend. The party’s debacle is more than a simple election defeat; it signals the end of the road for it as a party of government, argues Fabien Escalona, a specialist in European social democrat movements. In this analysis, he argues that the rare previous examples of parties of Western democracies that have similarly collapsed offer little hope it will ever recover.  

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Not only is the debacle suffered by France’s Socialist Party in the legislative elections even greater than any of its electoral defeats of the past, it is also different to any other by its very nature. It is the collapse of a major party of government.