Mouvement Républicain Populaire

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Mouvement Républicain Populaire

 

(Popular Republican Movement, or MRP), a French bourgeois Catholic political party that existed from 1944 to 1967.

The party was formed in November 1944 from Christian Socialist groups by leaders of the right wing of the Resistance. Heterogeneous in its social composition, the party was linked with big capital and the church and had influence among the petite bourgeoisie and the working-class Catholics. During the rise of the democratic movement in 1944–46, the MRP helped purge state organs of collaborationists and implement a number of democratic reforms. The party approved of France’s alliance with the USSR and took part in coalition governments with the Communists and the Socialists.

In 1947, the leadership of the MRP openly shifted toward anticommunism and anti-Sovietism. Leaders of the MRP held important posts in successive governments under the Fourth Republic from 1947 to 1954. Party leaders spoke out against the labor movement, defended the antidemocratic course that had been adopted by the ruling circles, and defended the principle of “freedom of schooling,” which was directed against secular education. In its foreign policy, the MRP favored active French participation in NATO and other imperialist blocs. Linked as it was with colonialist circles, the MRP leadership helped unleash the war in Indochina and opposed the national liberation movements in the colonies.

The political line adopted by the MRP leadership led to a decline in the party’s influence. The MRP received 5.05 million votes, or 26.3 percent of the total, in parliamentary elections in 1946, but received only 2.37 million votes, or 8.8 percent, in 1956. In 1958 the MRP supported the establishment of the Fifth Republic, and until May 1962, the party’s leaders remained in the government. The party went into opposition over certain aspects of the government’s foreign policy; in particular, the MRP advocated political integration of the capitalist states of Europe and close cooperation with NATO. In 1965 the leader of the MRP, J. Lecanuet, was a candidate for president of France but was defeated, receiving only 15.8 percent of the votes on the first ballot. In 1966, the MRP was the main element of a newly created bourgeois right-of-center party, the Democratic Center. In 1967 the MRP announced its dissolution.

M. M. NARINSKII

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