Path: Table of Contents > Essay on Party Politics > Party 111
French Popular Republican Movement, 111
Variables and Codes for 1950-1962
For the concepts and variables below, use these links to Political Parties: A Cross-National Survey:
Governmental Status
Issue Orientation
Goal Orientation
Organizational Complexity
Organizational Power
Organizational Coherence
Membership Involvement
The "ac" code is for "adequacy-confidence"--a data quality measure ranging from 0 (low) to 9 (high)
Party Name and Code number
Popular Republican Movement, 111, Mouvement Republican Populaire, MRP

Institutionalization Variables, 1.01-1.06
1.01 year of origin and 1.02 name changes:
1944, ac9
1, ac9
France failed to develop a major Catholic political party until after World War II. A Catholic party, the Jeune Republique, was founded by M. Sangnier in 1912, but it attracted only a few deputies. The Popular Democratic Party, which was founded in 1924, also failed to acquire any real strength inside or outside of parliament. During the German occupation, Christian democrats and Catholic groups were very active in the resistance, and the proposal was made in 1943 to draw these various groups, including the remnants of the Jeune Republique and the PDP, into a single political movement. The party was tentatively named the Mouvement Republicain de Liberation, and its first congress was held in Paris in October, 1944. Its name was soon changed to Mouvement Republique Populaire, MRP, which remained with the party throughout our time period.
1.03 organizational discontinuity:
12, ac8
In the first part of our time period there were two main splits from the party, one to the right and one to the left. In 1958, Bidault left the party to start a rival Christian democratic party that met with little success. Although the departure of Bidault as a former president of the party might be considered a major split, he was apparently not very successful in taking party activists with him, thus it was judged a minor split. After our time period, the MRP declined as a distinct organization and by mid-1966 was part of the Centre Democratique, whose own existence subsequently deteriorated.
1.04 leadership competition
16, ac8
The post of party president was identified as the top leadership position, although parliamentary leaders often wielded power within the party. Maurice Schumann, former president of the Jeune Republique, was elected the first president of the MRP at its founding congress in 1944. George Bidault succeeded Schumann as party president in 1949. He in turn was replaced by P.H.Tietgen in 1952. Pierre Pflimin replaced Tietgen in 1955, and Andre Colin followed in 1959 and closed out our perointerest.
1.05 legislative instability
Instability is .15, ac7
Legislative representation of the MRP decreased rather steadily from a high of 27 percent of the seats in 1950 to 8 percent in 1962.
1.06 electoral instability
Instability is .09, ac8
Data are for four elections--1951, 56, 58, and 62.
The party's proportion of the vote slipped from 12 percent in 1951 to 9 percent in 1962.

Governmental Status Variables, 2.01-2.07
 2.01 government discrimination:
0 for 1950-62, ac6
Under par in the first part of our time period, the MRP operated as one of the governmental parties and could claim little in the way of special consideration or obstruction. The second ballot procedure during most of the second half of our time period, if anything, may have helped the MRP, which could enter into second stage electoral alliances because of its center position. But the intent of the second ballot arrangement was hardly to help the MRP.
2.02 governmental leadership:
1 out of 8 for 1950-57, ac9
1 out of 5 for 1958-62, ac9
Bidault began an eight month stay as premier in 1949 that lasted until June, 1950. No MRP held the premier post again until Pflimlin took over in may 1958, lasting less than a month before DeGaulle was invested.
2.03 cabinet participation:
6 out of 8 for 1950-57, ac7
5 out of 5 for 1958-62, ac7
The MRP almost monopolized the foreign office during the fourth republic, and it had frequent control of health, the colonies, and agriculture. During the fifth republic, the MRP participated in the debre government in an alliance with the UNR and the conservatives which lasted until 1962, when the MRP ministers resigned over DeGaulle's policy toward European integration.
2.04 national participation:
6 for 1950-57, ac6
6 for 1958-62, ac5
According to 1956 sample survey data, these four regions of France--Paris and north, west, east, and center/south--contributed to the MRP vote in close approximation to their proportions of the population. The average deviation of support across these four regions was 1.5 percentage points.
2.05 legislative strength:
Strength is .14 for 1950-57, ac7 and .09 for 1958-62,ac9
Legislative representation of the MRP decreased rather steadily from a high of 27 percent of the seats in 1950 to 8 percent in 1962.
2.06 electoral strength:
Strength is .11 for 1950-57, ac8 and .10 for 1958-62, ac8
Data are for four elections--1951, 56, 58, and 62.
The party's proportion of the vote slipped from 12 percent in 1951 to 9 percent in 1962.
2.07 outside origin:
8, ac9
The party was formed by intellectual leaders among progressive Catholics who urged the fusion of the spirit of resistance with Christianity. Leaders of Catholic groups were prominent in the party.

Issue Orientation Variables, 5.01-5.15
 5.01 ownership of means of production:
3 for 1950-62, ac9
Sponsored legislation to nationalize some industries, but it did not favor complete collective ownership.
5.02 government role in economic planning:
3 for 1950-62, ac7
Support of economic planning generally fits with its liberal economic orientation.
5.03 redistribution of wealth:
1 for 1950-62, ac7
Critical of social inequities produced in the economy, the MRP favored redistribution of income through family allowance and social security plans.
5.04 social welfare:
1 for 1950-62, ac7
The MRP certainly favored social welfare programs, but the scope of the program was not notably large.3)
5.05 secularization of society:
3 for 1950-62, ac9
The barange law, giving state aid to private schools, meaning mainly catholic schools in France, was introduced in parliament by independents but was supported by the MRP. The party treated this issue gingerly, trying to keep a posture of separation of church and state. But as a Catholic party, it had to support the state subsidy to church education.
5.06 support of the military:
1 for 1950-62, ac3
Very little information on this variable, but it does appear that the party had some anxiety over military influence in politics.)
5.07 alignment with east-west blocs:
5 for 1950-62, ac9
As an anti-Marxist party, it aligned with the west against the USSR, supporting NATO in particular.
5.08 anti-colonialism:
2 for 1950-57, ac6
2 for 1958-62, ac6
The Algerian question divided the party, which was inclined to suppress the rebellion during the first half of our time period. With the Bidault split in 1959, the party became more unified behind a policy of self-determination for Algeria.
5.09 supranational integration:
3 for 1950-62, ac9
European integration was one of the main concerns of the party, which favored economic integration and expected some form of political integration to follow.
5.10 national integration
2 for 1950-62, ac3
MRP policy generally supported pluralism. This was reflected in favoring the decentralization of the administrative structure to permit more local autonomy.)
5.11 electoral participation:
5 for 1950-62, ac3
Popular sovereignty seemed to be a settled and accepted matter.
5.12 protection of civil rights:
1 for 1950-62, ac3 *
Basic party philosophy of individual liberty suggests that it favored the discouragement of discrimination rather than its repression.
5.13 interference with civil liberties:
3 for 1950-62, ac3
The MRP's opposition to prostitution and pornography suggests that individual freedom might be limited when encountering moral matters.
5.14 / 5.15 us--soviet experts left-right ratings:
US says 2, center
Soviets say 1, a clerical party of the democratic center, but bourgeois, reactionary, and promoting interests of major bourgeoisie.

Goal Orientation Variables, 6.01-6.55
 6.00 open competition in the electoral process:
4 for 1950-62, ac9
The MRP was definitely oriented toward electoral competition. The literature does not elaborate on its campaign activities, but it appears that the party utilized broadcast time when available, made extensive use of posters, and held party rallies. There is no information on its canvassing voters or transporting them to polls.
6.10 restricting party competition:
0 for 1950-62, ac9
The MRP, somewhat like the radicals, engaged in electoral alliances intended against both the extreme left and the extreme right. But these inclinations toward electoral alliances should not be judged as restrictions of competition.
6.20 subverting the political system:
0 for 1950-62, ac9
These activities were just not part of the MRP's political tactics.
6.30 propagandizing ideas and program:
6.31--1 for 1950-57, ac8 and 1 for 1958-62, ac6.
The MRP published various party periodicals during our time period.
6.32--1, ac6.
One source reports that the MRP adopted the communist practice of using training schools to indoctrinate party workers. But our consultant advises that this practice did not seem to be extensive.
6.33, 6.34--ac1.
No information.
6.50 providing for welfare of party members:
6.51, 6.52, 6.53, 6.55--0, ac3.
There is no evidence that the party provided these social welfare measures.
6.54 ac1, insufficient evidence prevents coding.

Autonomy Variables, 7.01-7.05
7.01 sources of funds:
7 for 1950-62, ac8
The literature states that the major sources of funds were essentially party sources--membership dues and some parliamentarians' salaries.
7.02 source of members:
5 for 1950-62, ac8
Although the MRP is considered to be a Catholic party, membership in the party was entirely direct and taken out on an individual basis. Membership in the church or associated trade unions did not constitute membership in the party.
7.03 sources of leaders:
1 (sector 06), ac8
By far most of the leaders in the party, but not all of them, held positions in the Catholic Trade Union or other catholic organizations.
7.04 relations with domestic parties:
4 for 1950-57, ac8
4 for 1958-62, ac7
During the first part of our time period, the MRP was often involved in parliamentary alliances and government coalitions. During the second half, it participated in the DeGaulle regime until 1962, when its ministers resigned in opposition to DeGaulle's posture against European integration.
7.05 relations with foreign organizations:
4 for 1950-62, ac8
During our time period of interest and stopping in 1962, the MRP's association with the Nouvelles Equipes Internationales, the Christian Democratic Organization (later replaced by the European Union of Christian Democrats) was much closer than later.

Organizational Complexity Variables, 8.01-8.07
 8.01 structural articulation:
11 for 1950-62, ac9
MRP organization featured a national congress with rather clear composition that operated by secret ballot in electing the party president and the secretary-general, a national committee of somewhat smaller size with some coopted members, an executive committee of 50, a smaller political bureau, and a secretariat. In addition, there were some specialized teams and research sections.
8.02 intensiveness of organization:
5 for 1950-62, ac8
Local sections, based on the commune or canton and consisting of at least 10 members, constituted the lowest element in the party. These sections formed into federations which consisted of at least five sections and 100 members, although the size requirement was sometimes overlooked.
8.03 extensiveness of organization:
No information
8.04 frequency of local meetings:
No information
8.05 frequency of national meetings:
5 for 1950-62, ac8
The national committee met every two months. The executive committee, however, meets more frequently. In some ways, the executive committee of the MRP corresponded more to the national committees of other parties than the national committee itself, for the MRP organ was larger and more legislative in character. But we have stayed with the national committee for the comparison.
8.06 maintaining records:
8 for 1950-62, ac8
The party had something of a publishing program, featuring a weekly and political pamphlets. It also maintained a research organization and compiled membership lists, but there is no comment on the quality of the lists.
8.07 pervasiveness of organization:
17 for 1950-62, ac9
During our time period the Catholic CFDT Trade Union was second only to the Pro-Communist CGT Union. MRP influence in the CFDT was strong, and the party created and operated its own organizations involving women, youth, professional, and rural organizations.

Organizational Power Variables, 9.01-9.08
 9.01 nationalization of structure:
4 for 1950-62, ac9
The MRP structure was pyramidal in character, but control at the top was generally in the hands of parliamentarians. The line of control extended from the national organs directly to the federations, which were interposed between the national organization and the local sections.
9.02 selecting the national leader:
3 for 1950-62, ac9
The congress elected the president and the secretary general (two offices) by secret ballot. The president was prohibited from serving more than three one-year terms.
9.03 selecting parliamentary candidates:
5 for 1950-62, ac9
Parliamentary candidates were chosen by the federation through secret ballot procedures, although there was still room for unchallenged candidacies. The federation's selections were approved by the national executive committee. The literature does not reveal what kind of a hurdle this really was.
9.04 allocating funds:
2 for 1950-62, ac5
The federations bought membership cards from the national office and then sold them to local members at a higher price, thus obtaining funds for use at the federation level and for distribution to the sections. It appears that most of the money remained at the federation and local levels.
9.05 formulating policy:
5 for 1950-62, ac8
It appears that the congress within the MRP functioned more like a policy-making, or at least policy-ratifying, body than in most other parties in which the congress is supposed to have that function.
9.06 controlling communications:
6 for 1950-62, ac8
In lieu of a national party newspaper, which folded in 1951, the national organization appeared to rely upon the distribution of circulars through the secretariat as a medium of intraparty communication.
9.07 administering discipline:
4 for 1950-62, ac9
Expulsion from the party was the main disciplinary technique. It was provided for in party statutes in conjunction with activities of the executive committee.
9.08 leadership concentration:
3 for 1950-62, ac9
Binding decisions in the MRP were a product of its leadership committees rather than individual personalities.

Coherence Variables, 10.01-10.06
 10.01 legislative cohesion:
.84 for 1950-57, ac8
.84 for 1958-62, ac5
Based on the 79 principal roll call votes for 1950 to 1958 as reported in Williams, "crisis and compromise," the mean rice index of cohesion for the MRP was 84. Comparable data were not available after 1958.
10.02 ideological factionalism:
3 for 1950-62, ac8
There clearly were ideological tendencies in both directions within the party. To some extent, this division was associated with the militants, who were more inclined to leftist policies, and the parliamentarians, who better reflected the conservatism of the MRP voters.
10.03 issue factionalism:
2 for 1950-57, ac5
3 for 1958-62, ac8
The party's position on colonial questions perhaps provoked the most division within the party on specific issues. The party's internal differences peaked in 1958 with the expulsion of Bidault, who had taken a hard line colonial stand on the Algerian question and was generally unsupported by the bulk of the party.
10.04 leadership factionalism:
1 for 1950-62, ac8
Contests for leadership were visible, but they were not enshrined in party factionalism.
10.05 strategic or tactical factionalism:
0 for 1950-62, ac4
The literature does not discuss MRP tactics and strategy as a basis for factionalism during our time period. Perhaps later, when the issue of the continuation of the party itself was at hand, the strategy questions were relevant as a basis for factionalism.
10.06 party purges:
0 for 1950-62, ac9
Wholesale expulsion of MRP members had no place in the party's method of operation.

Involvement Variables, 11.01-11.06
11.01 membership requirements:
3 for 1950-62, ac9
Formal membership registration and dues payment were required of party members.
11.02 membership participation:
2 for 1950-62, ac7
Data show that only about 20 percent of the 80,000 members in 1956 actively campaigned. If we take this as the measure of militancy, which is not very demanding, it seems that relatively few were militant. Another study showed that 30 percent attended party meetings, which suggests that most of the members fall in the category of marginal members at best.
11.03 material incentives:
0 for 1950-62, ac3
The literature makes no mention of material incentives as a motivational force for party militants. If it is true that most of the militants were young, then the rewards of office-holding were unlikely to be an available source of motivation.
11.04 purposive incentives:
4 for 1950-62, ac8
It seems that the young militants injected idealistic values into the party. The literature makes frequent comment about the social service orientation of the militants.
11.05 doctrinism:
1 for 1950-62, ac6
There is mention of the papal encyclicals giving guidance to the party, but this cannot be considered as a codification of party doctrine.
11.06 personalism:
0 for 1950-62, ac9
Leaders were not so important within the MRP. Even its former leader, Bidault, was expelled by the party, and his departure caused little defection by party members.