Democratic Movement (France)

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Democratic Movement
Mouvement démocrate
Abbreviation MoDem
Leader François Bayrou
Founded 1 December 2007
Preceded by Union for French Democracy
Headquarters 133bis, rue de l’Université

75007 Paris

Membership  (2012) 35,000[1]
Ideology Centrism[2]
Social liberalism[2]
Christian democracy[3][4]
Political position Centre
International affiliation None
European affiliation European Democratic Party
European Parliament group Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
Colours Orange
Seats in the National Assembly
2 / 577

Seats in the Senate
4 / 348

Seats in the European Parliament
4 / 74

Seats in Regional Councils
32 / 1,880

Politics of France
Political parties

The Democratic Movement (French: Mouvement démocrate French pronunciation: ​[muv.mɑ̃ de.mɔ.kʁat]; MoDem French: [mɔ.dɛm]) is a centrist[5][6] political party in France, which is characterised by a strong pro-European stance. MoDem was founded by François Bayrou to succeed the Union for French Democracy (UDF) and contest the 2007 legislative election, after his strong showing in the 2007 presidential election.[7] Initially named the Democratic Party (Parti démocrate), the party was renamed “Democratic Movement”,[8] because there was already a small Democratic Party in France.



Further information: Union for French Democracy

The MoDem traces its roots in the Union for French Democracy (UDF), centrist coalition/party active from 1978 to 2007.

Traditionally, the UDF had always supported centre-right governments since its creation by Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. The UDF aligned itself with the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) following its creation in 2002, and even took part in the government coalition in the Senate from 2002 to 2007, though it did not participate in the Cabinet (except for Gilles de Robien). However, during the second term of Jacques Chirac, the UDF became increasingly independent from the UMP. On the initiative of its leaderFrançois Bayrou, it eventually supported a censure motion along with the Socialist Party (PS).

2007 presidential election[edit]

During the 2007 presidential campaign, François Bayrou advocated a national unity government. Although eliminated in the first round, a high number of voters (over 18%) supported him, partly because of his independence from major parties. Following the election, he founded the Democratic Movement (MoDem) on the 29 May to reinforce his strategy of political independence. MoDem was also supported by the Union of Radical Republicans.

Some members of the UDF did not agree with this new strategy because the weighted French balloting system would hinder the Democratic Movement from obtaining seats in the legislative elections. These members created the New Centre, continuing their support for the newly elected presidentNicolas Sarkozy.

2007 legislative election[edit]

The MoDem won 7.6% of the votes in the first round of the June 2007 legislative election.

Candidates ran under the UDF-MoDem banner, since the party had not yet been created officially. The party gained three seats in the National Assembly of France (not including Abdoulatifou Aly who was elected in Mayotte for a party affiliated to the MoDem. He sat with the New Centre for a short while but he is now sitting with the MoDem deputies[10]). Thierry Benoit, one of the four MPs, has been vocally critical of the party,[11] but he actually sits for the MoDem and defends the movement’s policies. He stated that he had been elected jointly by centre-right and left-wing citizens.[12]

Official foundation[edit]

The MoDem became an official political party on 1 December 2007 following its founding assembly in Villepinte, Seine-Saint-Denis, in the suburbs of Paris. The assembly elected Bayrou, who ran uncontested, as the party president, and also elected 29 others to the provisional executive board.

2012 presidential and legislative elections[edit]

At the 2012 presidential election Bayrou won 9.3% of the vote, a half of what he had obtained five years before. In the subsequent legislative election the party was reduced to 1.8% and won only two seats while Bayrou lost his seat in the National Assembly, which he had held for most of his political career.

2014 municipal elections[edit]

In the city counting more than 10,000 inhabitants, the party scored an average of 15%, winning over 50 cities.[13] François Bayrou conquered the city of Pau, while the party continues to run cities like Biarritz, Saint-Brieuc, Mont-de-Marsan or Talence, and is part of the ruling coalition in Bordeaux, Dijon, Saint-Étienne, Auxerre, among others.

2014 European elections[edit]

In an alliance with the Union of Democrats and Independents (UDI), also a successor of the Union for French Democracy, MoDem obtained 9.93% of the national level vote in France.


During the 2007 presidential election, François Bayrou stressed three points: the public debt, the need for change and ouverture to the right/left political system and the need of constitutional reforms in that direction.

International and European affiliations[edit]

In 2004, François Bayrou launched the European Democratic Party (EDP) along with Francesco Rutelli‘s Democracy is Freedom – The Daisy. In 2005 the EDP created, along with the New Democrat Coalition of the United States Democratic Party, the Alliance of Democrats, a worldwide network of centrist and social liberal parties.

Elected officials[edit]

François Bayrou

Former elected officials[edit]

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