Centre of Social Democrats

The Centre of Social Democrats[3][4] (Centre des démocrates sociaux, CDS; also translated as Democratic and Social Centre[5]) was a Christian-democratic[6][7] and centrist[8] political party in France.[1] It existed from 1976 to 1995 and was based directly and indirectly on the tradition of the Popular Republican Movement (MRP). The CDS was one of the co-founding parties of the European People's Party,[9] and later merged into the Democratic Force.

Centre of Social Democrats

Centre des démocrates sociaux
PresidentJean Lecanuet (first)
François Bayrou (last)
Secretary-GeneralJacques Barrot (first)
Philippe Douste-Blazy (last)
Founded23 May 1976
Dissolved25 November 1995
Merger ofDemocratic Centre, CDP
Merged intoDemocratic Force
IdeologyChristian democracy
Political positionCentre[1][2]
National affiliationUnion for French Democracy
European affiliationEuropean People's Party
International affiliationChristian Democrat International
European Parliament groupEuropean People's Party


It was founded on 23 May 1976 by the merger of the Democratic Centre, Centre, Democracy and Progress, and former members of the Popular Republican Movement (MRP), the National Centre of Independents and Peasants (CNIP), and the Democratic and Socialist Union of the Resistance (UDSR).

On 1 February 1978, the CDS was a founding member of the Union for French Democracy (UDF), alongside the Republican Party of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing and the Radical Party of Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber. It was the centrist and Christian democratic component of the UDF. Its leader Jean Lecanuet was the first president of the UDF confederation. It supported the UDF candidates in presidential elections: the incumbent president Valéry Giscard d'Estaing in 1981 and the former Prime Minister Raymond Barre in 1988.

Within the UDF, the CDS was the component which was the less enthusiastic about the alliance with the Gaullist Rally for the Republic (RPR) and after 1988, its leader Pierre Méhaignerie negotiated with the Socialist Prime Minister Michel Rocard to form a governmental coalition with the Socialist Party, which failed. In 1993, Gaullist Prime Minister Edouard Balladur gave CDS politicians numerous positions in his cabinet. In return, and in due to the incapacity of the UDF confederation to nominate a candidate in the 1995 presidential election, the most part of the CDS politicians supported the candidacy of Balladur. But, he was eliminated in the first round. Under the presidency of Jacques Chirac, the place of CDS in the cabinet reduced.

On 25 November 1995, the CDS merged with the Social Democratic Party to form the Democratic Force, under the leadership of François Bayrou, founding component of the New UDF on 16 September 1998.


Further readingEdit

  • Massart, Alexis (2004). Steven Van Hecke; Emmanuel Gerard (eds.). The Impossible Resurrection: Christian Democracy in France. Christian Democratic Parties in Europe Since the End of the Cold War. Leuven University Press. pp. 197–215. ISBN 90-5867-377-4.


  1. ^ a b Van Hecke, Steven; Gerard, Emmanuel (2004), Christian democratic parties in Europe since the end of the Cold War, Leuven University Press, p. 271
  2. ^ Day, Alan John (2000), Directory of European Union political parties, John Harper, p. 66
  3. ^ Gildea, Robert (2002), France since 1945, Oxford University Press, p. 210, retrieved 18 November 2011
  4. ^ Vigneaux, Emmanuelle (2003), "French Political Parties and Cleavages: Why is there no Christian Democratic Party?", Political leadership in a global age, Ashgate Publishing, p. 75, retrieved 18 November 2011
  5. ^ Jansen, Thomas; Van Hencke, Steven (2011), At Europe's Service: The Origins and Evolution of the European People's Party, Springer, retrieved 18 November 2011
  6. ^ Gary Marks; Carole Wilson (1999). "National Parties and the Contestation of Europe". In T. Banchoff; Mitchell P. Smith (eds.). Legitimacy and the European Union. Taylor & Francis. p. 126. ISBN 978-0-415-18188-4. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
  7. ^ Emil J. Kirchner (1988). Liberal Parties in Western Europe. Cambridge University Press. p. 408. ISBN 978-0-521-32394-9. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  8. ^ Political Systems of the World. Allied Publishers. p. 115. ISBN 978-81-7023-307-7.
  9. ^ Thomas Jansen; Steven Van Hecke (2011). At Europe's Service: The Origins and Evolution of the European People's Party. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 65. ISBN 978-3-642-19414-6.