France, Still the Third Republic

"France, Still the Third Republic," Foreign Affairs, v30 n1 (Oct., 1951): 145-151.


The middle-of-the-road parties, as they would be called in Anglo-Saxon countries, came out on top in the recent French elections, but the Pleven Cabinet formed after long delay does not provide the strong government we all had hoped for, since they are more badly divided among themselves than before. The right wing of the Center has been strengthened at the expense of the left wing, and some of that right wing may be attracted to the Rally of the French People, the Gaullists. The Communists received 450,000 votes less than in the elections of November 1946, a drop from 28.4 percent to 26.48 percent of the total. This is about what they had in the elections of the spring of 1946. The Rally of the French People (R.P.F.) received a little more than 4,000,000 votes, that is, 21.74 percent. Together the two extremes add up to a little less than the majority of the total ballots cast. Thanks to the electoral law which favors the “affiliated” parties of the Center, however, this gives them but 224 deputies out of 625–markedly less than half.