Union for French Democracy

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Template:Politics of France The Union for French Democracy, also known by its French acronym UDF (Union pour la Démocratie Française), is a French center-right political party. It was founded in 1978 as a union between several smaller parties (Parti radical, Parti républicain - later renamed Démocratie Libérale - and Centre des démocrates sociaux), as an electoral entity to support President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, but now is a single entity, due to the defection of the Démocratie Libérale and the Radicals to President Chirac's UMP, leaving only the CDS as a constituent of the UDF.

It may be compared to the Christian-Democratic Union of Germany in terms of its Christian democrat policies.

Its current leader, as of 2005, is François Bayrou, and UDF is a junior partner in the coalition behind Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, though no longer in his cabinet.

UDF's most marked political trait is that it is in favor of European federalism, up to the point of turning the European Union into United States of Europe.

The economic policies proposed by UDF's leaders used to range from left-wing-leaning, in favor of social justice, to strongly laissez-faire economics. Such divergences led the laissez-faire advocates of Démocratie Libérale to split out of UDF on May 16, 1998.

Similarly, the social policies ranged from the conservatism of the likes of Christine Boutin, famously opposed to civil unions for homosexuals, to more progressive policies.

Many leaders of UDF left it to join the Union for a Presidential Majority (Union pour la Majorité Présidentielle), supporting Jacques Chirac, after it was founded in 2002, leaving François Bayrou somewhat isolated. While a partner in the Raffarin cabinet, the UDF sometimes criticized the policies of the French government, yet did not wish to quit the cabinet and enter the opposition, which is mostly left-wing. As a result, UDF quit the cabinet in the March 31 2004 cabinet reshuffling, while still remaining in the parliamentary majority.

An ironic characterization of UDF's membership is that it was the union of everybody on the right that was neither far-right nor a Chirac supporter.

In 2004, the party, along with Italy's Margherita, was one of the founding members of the European Democratic Party.

External link

es:Unión para la Democracia Francesa fr:Union pour la démocratie française pl:Union pour la Démocratie Française pt:Union pour la démocratie française

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