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Joseph A. Schlesinger and Mildred S. Schlesinger, "French Parties and the Legislative Elections of 1993," Party Politics , 1 (July, 1995), 369-380.

First Paragraph:
The 1993 legislative elections in France produced a seismic change in French politics. The striking reversal in party fortunes augured a new fault line. The change required us to re-evaluate the scheme we had devised for analyzing the parties of the French Fifth Republic (Schlesinger and Schlesinger, 1990). Our scheme rested on the assumption that electoral rules have a significant impact on party organization,whose primary goal in democracies is to win elections. In the Fifth Republic we concluded that the single-member-district, two-ballot rules used for all but one of the Republic's legislative elections had produced four stable prototypical parties. Yet in the 1993 elections the Socialist Party, which over the course of the Republic had emerged as the most impressive political organization, was reduced to its weakest position since 1958. At the same time the Gaullist party,which had undergone a period of decline, was restored to the position of dominance it had not enjoyed since the late 1960s. More significant, the centrists, who in the 1960s had been largely a collection of ephemeral groups,emerged united as the second largest party in the national assembly, as the federation Union for French Democracy (UDF). While the UDF was allied with the Gaullists in the new governing majority, some observers, given the Socialists' weakness, identified the new fault line in French politics within the winning coalition.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1: Electoral performance by party on the two ballots of the 1993 legislative elections.
Table 2: Electoral performance by party on the first ballot of the 1993 legislative elections.
Table 3: The FNs impact on the second ballot of the 1993 legislative elections.
Table 4: Winning candidates' shift in electoral margins between ballots against opponents in the 1993 legislative elections.

Last Paragraph:
The results of the 1993 legislative elections confirm the impact of electoral rules on French political parties. They confirm our finding that the single-member-district, two-ballot rules used for the legislative elections have provided the Republic with four stable prototypical parties. In turn these parties are responsible for the stable alternative governing majorities that had eluded the Third and Fourth French Republics. Despite the dramatic shift in political fortunes brought about by the French legislative elections of 1993, we found that our scheme for analyzing French parties remains valid. Analysis of the 1993 results found the four-party system firmly in place;each of the parties continued to win with the strategies we had associated with them. The Gaullists achieved their victory by maintaining their status as the primary party, while their allies, the UDF, won as the dual electoral party. At the same time, even in defeat, the Socialists were able to show that they had not lost their appeal as a secondary party, while the Communists continued to demonstrate the ability of the marginal party to survive. In contrast, the fate of the National Front, the Ecologists and the Greens attested to the inability of parties nurtured by PR to become serious players in the French party system.