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23rd - 30th June 1968

Page history last edited by Sophie Smith 6 years ago



23rd - 30th June 1968



Due to the ever-increasing anguish and uproar amongst students, which manifested itself throughout May 1968 in France, Charles de Gaulle and Georges Pompidou decided to call for an election. These legislative elections occurred from the 23rd to the 30th June 1968.  


The French legislative elections took place on 23 and 30 June 1968 to elect the fourth French National Assembly of the fifth republic, as directed by Charles de Gaulle on the 30th May. De Gaulle announced the dissolution of the National Assembly, and a new legislative election, in order to restore peace and order in France. When he declared the elections he also stated he would declare France in a state of emergency if the workers did not return to work. 


The French National Assembly is made up of 487 seats and in the days that followed politician from all major parties in France campaigned to win. 


23rd June 1968



The first-round of elections showed a clear majority win by De Gaulle and Pompidou's UDR party (Union of Democrats for the Republic) representing 43.64% of the votes made by the French citizens. 


Following the UDR, it was Waldeck Rochet's PCF party who gained the next most votes, standing as 20.02% of total votes. In fact, the PCF had 4,435,000 votes in the first round, equalling to around a loss of 600,000 since 1967 elections and so did FGDS 4. This is important because we question why did the popularity of PCF decrease in 1968  when riots took place in this year where people stood more for the ideas of the PCF than the UDR. 


Furthermore, the FGDS still proved less popular than the PCF in the first round of elections and we can see that the DVD and the PSU parties proved to have the least supporters both representing just over 4% of total votes.


26th and 29th June

The beaux-arts, one of France's most important art schools in the country and the source of many of the propaganda artworks created by the students during their protests in May was occupied by students until 26th June. On 26th June early that morning police arrested  96 people inside the building and 40 outside. The percentage of women 31% was a remarkably high perhaps reflecting a large number of female students enrolled in this institution. However, it wasn't just students, the number of non-students was equal to students arrested during this raid. 3

On Saturday 29th of June in Arras, on the eve of the second round of legislative elections, an 18-year-old Communist worker: Marc Lanvin, was murdered by a supporter of the UDR-RI.2



30th June


When France had been to the polls for the final time in the 2nd round of legislative elections the UDR-RI or Gaullist union became the first party to gain the absolute majority in parliamentary history. Other parties were left absolutely decimated by the outcome. In the second round of elections the result came out as: (percentages of seats won)




The Results from the 2nd round showed that De Gaulle's party the UDR (Union for the Defence of the Republic) came out on top with 46.39% of the votes. Despite the PCF (French Communist party) won more votes for the left during the primaries the FGDS (Federation of the Democratic and Socialist Left) came second narrowly in the final round with 21.25%. The other parties such as the PDM (progressive modern democracy party) the DVD (the Miscellaneous right) and the PSU - (unified socialist party) were left with minimal to no seats within parliament making up 11.79% of the total vote. 1




From the results of the secondaries, the seat won in Parliament are calculated, the total results are formed resulted in UDR making up 72.69% of the French National Assembly. 



De Gaulle had been fearful of his presidential position when he had called for an election. However, his party did in fact, win the greatest victory in French parliamentary history. The UDR took 353 of 486 seats, with the Communists' taking 34, and the Socialists' taking 57.



Unfortunately, the relationship between the two heads of power (De Gaulle and Pompidou) quickly fell apart which led to the resignation of Pompidou on the 10th July 1968 and as a result, Maurice Couve de Murville took his position as Prime minister. This eventually led to another round of elections less than a year later in 1969, where Pompidou would become president.






These elections put an end to the turbulent few months in France by showing the people of France that de Gaulle had remained in power.  However, it could be said that these elections would have played out differently if the students (the majority of which were under 21 and therefore could not vote in France)Had been eligible to vote. Furthermore, from the results of the final elections on the 30th June, it is clear that the UDR (De Gaulle and Pompidou’s party) came out on top, it could be suggested that this was because the majority of voters were of the baby-boom generation who had seen the stability De Gaulle had brought to France during the Second World War and the Algerian war. It could be said that they wanted France to return to its previous state of stability under De Gaulle and resume life as normal, acting as though the events of May and June 1968 had not happened. Additionally, The riots and strikes primarily affected students and workers, and not everyone believed in the cause, this could also have included many students and workers who were fed up after over a month of the violence and strikes and also wanted France to return to normal.


For the Left-wing parties, although unsuccessful in the election, it is interesting to point out that overall the FGDS came out more popular, in contrast to the success of the PCF in the primaries. This may be because of the events of the 29th of June when a member of the PCF was killed by a member of the UDR; although extreme, this could have shown to the French people that the UDR were strong in the face of the western worlds fear of communism.  Another reason for the progress of the FGDS over the PCF could be, The FGDS was made up of several smaller groups of left-wing parties led by François Mitterrand, a popular well known left-wing politician at the time. Moreover, in the primaries, the PSU (a unified socialist party lead by Édouard Depreux) although a small party they had almost 5% of the overall vote, this party had previously been lead by François Mitterrand, by the final round on the 30th of the PSU had less the 1% of the votes. Based on this, it is a fair assumption that the PSU voters had followed their former leader; Mitterrand over the FGDS. A final point to consider is, it could be said that the left could have won if they had united to form one party during the primary and final round of elections the votes for left-wing parties are almost equally divided between two parties. Had the parties been able to form a coalition there is a strong possibility that the may have won the election.









1wikipedia.org, French legislative election 1968https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_legislative_election,_1968 [Accessed 14th March 2018].

2Xavier, 2008, Marc Lanvin, communiste assssiné le 29 juin 1968 à Arras, http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x5p61z [Accessed 20th March 2018]. 

3Seidman.M, 2004, The Imaginary Revolution: Parisian Students and Workers in 1968, pp 215-271, Berghahn Books, New York, New York,

4Tiersky.R, 1974. The French Communism (Page 253). New York:Columbia University Press.

5 British Pathé, Charles de Gaulle returned to power with largest majority. Paris, France. https://youtu.be/wTfjAYe-58w [Accessed 10th March 2018].


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