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Union for French Democracy
The Union for French Democracy, also known by its French acronym UDF (Union pour la Démocratie Française), is a French center-right political party. It was founded in 1974 as an union between several smaller parties (Parti radical, Parti républicain - later renamed Démocratie Libérale - and Centre des démocrates sociaux), under the leadership of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, who was elected president in that year, but now is a single entity, in part due to the defection of some of its constituent members to President Chirac's UMP.
The economic policies proposed by UDF's leaders used to range from left-wing-leaning, in favor of social justice, to strongly laissez-faire economics. Such divergences led the laissez-faire advocates of Démocratie Libérale to split out of UDF on May 16, 1998.
Many leaders of UDF left it to join the Union for a Presidential Majority (Union pour la Majorité Présidentielle), supporting Jacques Chirac, after it was founded in 2002, leaving François Bayrou somewhat isolated. While a partner in the Raffarin cabinet, the UDF sometimes criticized the policies of the French government, yet does not wish to quit the cabinet and enter the opposition, which is mostly left-wing. As a result, UDF quit the cabinet in the March 31 2004 cabinet reshuffling, while still remaining in the parliamentary majority.
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