Published 23rd February, 2012
The Democratic Movement or MoDem was established by François Bayrou after the 2007 presidential election in which he took 18.57% of the vote and came third. Originally called the Democratic Party the party was renamed to avoid confusion with a smaller party of the same name. It succeeds the Union for French Democracy (UDF) which was founded in 1978 and which was dissolved in 2007.
The party describes itself as centrist and believes in Centrism, Social Liberalism and Pro-Europeanism.
François Bayrou has struck a centrist line in his political career and has served as Minister of National Education from 1993 to 1997, spanning the prime ministerial periods of the Édouard Balladur and Alain Juppé governments. He resisted moves in 2002 for the then UDF to merge with the Rally for the Republic (RPR) which subsequently became the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP). As a result the party lost a number of members who moved to the UMP, but Bayrou continued to fight the 2002 and 2007 election independently from either of the major parties.
It is this independent stance that has earned his party a solid loyal following. Although this independent approach makes it harder to secure seats in the French National Assembly, the party did win three of the 577 seats in the parliament in the 2007 election.
The party has also done well in the European elections, taking five of the 74 national seats in the 2009 European elections. They are members of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe in the European parliament.
The Democratic Movement is also a member of the Alliance of Democrats as well as the European Democratic Party.