How the Socialist Party is now France's 'Democratic Party'

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The ruling Socialist Party is continuing its inexorable drift towards the centre ground of French politics. As Stéphane Alliès reports, prime minister Manuel Valls's key-note speech on Sunday to end its summer conference underlined the extent to which the party has turned its back on other parties of the Left and has instead become a “rallying call for progressives”.

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It was, in a sense, the end of a chapter in the Socialist Party's history. The party's annual conference at La Rochelle in west France last weekend, where the overriding mood was gloomy and downbeat, veered between resignation from more critical delegates and quiet support for the government from others. Yet the talk in the corridors and the much-applauded closing speech by prime minister Manuel Valls on Sunday show that the government has created a new political alignment. And so while the party can claim that it ended its weekend gathering with greater cohesion, this is at the expense of its previous influence on the Left as a whole.