Movement for France

Movement for France
Mouvement pour la France
Leader Philippe de Villiers
Founded 1994
Headquarters 16 bis avenue de la Motte-Picquet - 75007 Paris
Ideology Conservatism
Soft euroscepticism
Political position Right-wing
European affiliation Movement for a Europe of Liberties and Democracy
International affiliation None
European Parliament group Europe of Freedom and Democracy (2009–2014)
Colours Blue

The Movement for France (French: Mouvement pour la France; French pronunciation: [muvmɑ̃ puʁ laˈfʁɑ̃s]), abbreviated to MPF, is a French conservative and eurosceptic political party, founded on 20 November 1994, with a marked regional stronghold in the Vendée. It is led by Philippe de Villiers, once communications minister under Jacques Chirac.

The party is considered eurosceptic, though not to the extent of seeking to secede from the Union. In this way it contrasts with some other mainstream eurosceptic parties such as the UK Independence Party (UKIP). The MPF resists increases in European integration and campaigned successfully for a "no" vote in the French referendum of 2005 on the proposed European Constitution.

It is also strongly opposed to the possible admission of Turkey into the European Union and to what it sees as the Islamisation of France.

The party was a member of President Nicolas Sarkozy's presidential majority, which gathers the allies of the ruling party Union for a Popular Movement (UMP).


Founded in 1994, the party nominated Philippe de Villiers as candidate in the 1995 presidential election. He obtained over a million votes and 4.74% of the popular vote, but failed to pass 5%.

In the 1997 legislative election, the MPF joined forces with the National Centre of Independents and Peasants as La Droite Indépendante (LDI). Philippe de Villiers was re-elected, as was one of his allies, who nonetheless left the party soon thereafter.

It contested the 1999 European Parliamentary elections in alliance with the Rassemblement pour la France (RPF) of Charles Pasqua, the combination winning 13 seats, surpassing Nicolas Sarkozy's Rassemblement pour la République (RPR) list. The MPF formed an alliance with the RPF, but Villiers fell out with Pasqua the following year. Standing by itself in the 2004 European elections, the MPF obtained 7.6% of the popular vote and returned three Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). The party was a member of the Independence and Democracy group in the European Parliament.

Villiers declared his candidacy for the 2007 presidential election and appointed a secretary-general, Guillaume Peltier, then ranked second in the party. He ranked sixth out of twelve candidates, obtaining 2.23% (818,407 votes), down almost 2% from his previous candidacy in 1995. His best scores came in Pays-de-la-Loire with 4.99% and Poitou-Charentes with 3.58%. Unlike in 1995, he failed to win in his department of Vendée, where he obtained 11.28% (over 20% in 1995).

Old logo of the MPF

In the 2007 legislative election, MPF candidates ran nationwide, but only one candidate was elected - Véronique Besse in Vendée's 4th constituency by the first round. Former MPF member Joël Sarlot was also elected by the first round in the Vendée's 5th constituency. Sarlot subsequently lent support to the victorious Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) in the National Assembly. Sarlot's election was invalidated in 2007 and Dominique Souchet, a Villierist won the ensuing by-election easily. Other candidates, mostly in the south of France obtained important scores. Jacques Bompard, in the 4th constituency of Vaucluse won over 20%.

In the 2009 European Parliament election, the party ran with Hunting, Fishing, Nature, Tradition under the umbrella of the Libertas political movement led by Irish businessman Declan Ganley. It won 4.8% and only Philippe de Villiers was re-elected: Patrick Louis was defeated. The MPF was the only Libertas affiliated party throughout the whole of the European Union to elect MEPs in 2009. The party was member of the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group during the 7th European Parliament.

In August 2009, Philippe de Villiers announced that the MPF would join the Liaison Committee for the Presidential Majority, which co-ordinates the member parties of the majority supporting the policies of President Nicolas Sarkozy.[1]

The MPF has little electoral clout and most of its support is concentrated in Philippe de Villiers' department of Vendée, his electoral stronghold. While most of his support comes from his status as a favourite son, Vendée is also a strongly Traditionalist Catholic department which maintains a sense of pride in the monarchist counter-revolution and the Chouans during the French Revolution. In the 2009 European election, Villiers' list won the department with 32.96%[2] while polling only 4.8% nationally. In the 2004 European election the MPF won 38.63%[3] and it won 31.9% in the 1999 elections and 34.75% in 1994. However, the MPF is weaker in the department in national elections - such as presidential votes. Philippe de Villiers, who had won 22.02% in his department in the 1995 presidential election (he also got first place) came in fourth place with 11.28% in the 2007 presidential election. His electoral base in the department is his constituency - Vendée's 4th constituency - in which he consistently does better than in the department as a whole.[4]

Interestingly, his influence is waning: through considered to be pro-EU in general, the department voted against the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 due to Villiers' influence, but it voted for the European Constitution in 2005. It was the only department to switch between a NO vote in 1992 and a YES vote in 2005.

The MPF is also strong in other departments, mostly those neighboring Vendée. In 2009, for example, Villiers' list won 14.26% in the Deux-Sèvres, a department which is also strongly Catholic. It also won 12.36% in Charente-Maritime, 10.39% in Maine-et-Loire, 9.79% in Charente, 9.29% in Vienne and 8.56% in Loire-Atlantique. Due to Jacques Bompard, it also polled 6.40% in the southeastern Vaucluse department.


President of the French Republic
Election year Candidate # of 1st round votes % of 1st round vote # of 2nd round votes % of 2nd round vote
1995 Philippe de Villiers 1,443,235 4.74%
2007 Philippe de Villiers 818,407 2.23%


French National Assembly
Election year # of 1st round votes % of 1st round vote # of seats
1997 606,355 2.38% 2
2002 202,831 0.80% 1
2007 312,581 1.20% 2

European Parliament

European Parliament
Election year Number of votes % of overall vote # of seats won
1994 2,404,105 12.34%[5] 13[6]
1999 2,304,285 13.05%[5] 6[6]
2004 1,145,839 6.67% 3[7]
2009 826,357 4.80%[8] 1

Media opinion

The MPF and Villers, mostly due to their views on Islam and Muslim immigration, have been labeled in world news media such as CNN, Der Spiegel, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, and The San Francisco Chronicle as "far right".[9][10][11][12][13]


The MPF is a souverainist party which supports the national independence of France within a Europe "of peoples and co-operation". Unlike the United Kingdom Independence Party, it does not support France's withdrawal from the EU but rather a massive overhaul of it. The MPF is a strong critic of what it sees as excessive bureaucracy and technocracy in the EU. Its various proposals include:

European Union


Internal issues

Elected officials

The MPF currently controls one general council, that of Vendée, where Villiers serves as President of the General Council. It has 10 general councillors in Vendée in addition to one in the Morbihan (Quiberon), one in the Meuse (Charny-sur-Meuse) and two in the Vaucluse (Orange). It claims 5 regional councillors, most of which were elected on FN lists in 2004.

See also


  1. "Philippe de Villiers explique les raisons de son ralliement à l'UMP".
  2. "Ministry of the Interior results page".
  3. "Ministry of the Interior results page".
  4. "Results on the CDSP website".
  5. 1 2 Results of the Rally for France-MPF common list
  6. 1 2 The RPF-MPF list won 13 MEPs, of which 6 were members of the MPF
  7. Including Paul-Marie Coûteaux, who is not a member of the MPF
  8. Results of Libertas France, where the MPF was the senior party in a coalition including the stronger Movement for France
  9. "12 candidates in the running for French president". CNN. 9 April 2007.
  10. "Paris Airport Bars Muslim Workers". Der Spiegel. 2 November 2006.
  11. Tom Heneghan (23 April 2006). "Far-right leader decries "Islamisation of France"". The Boston Globe.
  12. David Marcelis. "Philippe de Villiers". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 4 March 2009.
  13. Elaine Ganley (2 August 2006). "Paris Shuts Airport Muslim Prayer Rooms". The San Francisco Chronicle.
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