Democratic and Social Centre (France)

Democratic and Social Centre (France)

The Democratic and Social Centre ("Centre des démocrates sociaux", CDS) was a French Christian-democratic party.

It was founded on May 23,1976 by the merger of the Democratic Centre, Centre, Democracy and Progress, and former members of the MRP, the CNIP, and the UDSR.

On February 1,1978, 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. 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 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, Prime Minister Edouard Balladur gave CDS politicians numerous positions in his cabinet.

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


*Jean Lecanuet (1976-82)
*Pierre Méhaignerie (1982-94)
*François Bayrou (1994-95)

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