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18:30 20 March 2012

Inaugural Lecture: Political Democracy or Beauty Contest? The Parti Socialiste Primary for the 2012 Presidential Election in France


Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre | Wilkins Building (link Map)
Gower St | London | WC1E 6BT | United Kingdom

Open to: Academic | Alumni | Public | Student
Ticketing: Pre-booking essential

Speaker information

Professor Philippe Marlière, SELCS, Department of French, Philippe Marlière was educated in France. He was a researcher in political science for the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), and a lecturer at the University of Lille. He has a PhD from the European University Institute (Florence). In 2007, he was awarded the Marcel Liebman Chair in political science by the Université Libre de Bruxelles. His main publications are about the French Socialist Party, French politics and European social democracy.

In October 2011, the French Parti Socialiste organised a primary election to choose the party’s candidate for the forthcoming 2012 presidential contest. This was an ‘open’ vote along the lines of the American model. It was presented by its proponents as a ‘democratic’ device to make the PS ‘more electable’ and ‘closer to the people’. It was also hoped that the PS would come up with an undisputed candidate. Philippe Marlière argues that far from strengthening the party, the primary may have weakened it. The primary makes party activists largely irrelevant, and boosts the influence of the media and pollsters. This has in turn depoliticised debates and aggravated the drift toward the personalisation of power, at the heart of the institutions of the 5th Republic.


Felicity Stafford
+44 (0)207 679 1350 | f.stafford@ucl.ac.uk


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Philippe Marliere