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David Hanley, "Compromise, Party Management and Fair Shares: The Case of the French UDF," Party Politics, 5 (April 1999), 171-189.

First Paragraph:
The Union pour la Démocratie franqaise (UDF) is puzzling to the student of parties. Standard accounts see it as a significant system party, created by the electoral mechanisms of the Fifth Republic (Wilson, 1982; Charlot, 1989). One recent analyst classifies it unproblematically as a 'centre-right party with strong roots in liberalism' (Ware, 1996: 49). But an early study warned that whatever its ambitions, the UDF was still only a federation of bourgeois parties plus a group of deputies (Seiler, 1980: 206).

Figures and Tables:
Table 1: Agreed single candidacies between UDF and RPR
Table 2: Conversation rates of agreed candidacies into seats
Table 3: UDF deputies by party
Table 4: Party shares in government since 1978

Last Paragraph:
There is a lesson here about party change that goes beyond the mere UDF. It is a truism to say that it is hard to break or modify established party structures; the phenomenon of persistence is well known (Mair, 1997: 76-90). The failure of the UDF to forge a fully developed party out of its ingredients is a proof of this, as is the failure of Gaullism to wither away long after the conditions that summoned it into being (decolonization and the collapse of the Fourth Republic, the need for state-led economic expansion and an independent foreign policy) have disappeared. For a genuinely new force to come into being, it seems that exceptional outside circumstances are required, as well as the capacity among elites to recognize these circumstances and to react in consequence. Gaullism did this after 1958. The UDF was given the circumstances but perhaps did not have the elites nor the time; it remains to be seen if, given a second chance, the elites will act more positively. Only if they do will the UDF escape from under-development and become un parti comme les autres.