France is a representative democratic republic like the United States. France differs slightly in political organization, however, with the most fundamental difference being that political power in France is split between the President and a Prime Minister, who leads the political party that holds majority in Parliament. Also unlike the United States, France has more than two dominant political parties.
While the political parties in France can be divided into right and left leaning parties, the political party spectrum is much more broadly represented than in the United States. The French government, conceivably, can take the views and desires of a wide range of citizens into account. France also has a number of political parties with views that support Communism and worker's rights. The goals of these parties are represented in Parliament, ensuring more protection for the working class.
Historically, Rally for the Republic was probably the most powerful political party in France. It generally took approximately one-fifth of each election, and over time, several smaller parties aligned with Rally for the Republic for more political clout. Rally for the Republic was founded in 1976 by Jacques Chirac. In 2002, the political party merged with several other major political parties to form Union for a Popular Movement.
Union for a Popular Movement is a political party established to bolster the Presidential bid of Jacques Chirac. The merger included Union for a French Democracy and the Democratic Liberals. Officially, the merger was meant to consolidate political power and foster cooperation between three frequently battling political parties. Unofficially, the Union for a Popular Movement created a political party which would ensure victory for Chirac and dominate Parliament. The Union for a Popular Movement is a moderate political party with many progressive policy reforms to its credit.
Another powerful political party in France is the Socialist Party. In Europe, Socialists are differentiated from Communists, with many nations having a substantial Socialist majority. The Socialist party is committed to worker's rights, access to health care and education for all citizens, as well as state support for citizens in need. The Socialist Party cooperates with other left of center political parties including the Greens and the Left Radical to advance their aims.
The National Front is a political party which is also active in France, mostly regionally. The National Front is a right of center, nationalist political party which has been accused by detractors of being racist, anti-Semitic, and far-right. The party promotes traditional French values, higher tariffs on imports, more separation from Europe and reinstatement of the death penalty. The National Front is opposed to immigration and liberal movements. While the National Party rarely gains seats on the national level, it does exert power in some regions of France, especially those struggling with immigration issues.