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The 1969 French presidential election took place on 1 June and 15 June 1969. It occurred due to the resignation of President Charles de Gaulle on 28 April 1969. Indeed, De Gaulle had decided to consult the voters by referendum about regionalisation and the reform of the Senatemarker, and he had announced he would resign if it resulted in a "no" vote. In 27 April, 53,5% of the voters had voted "no".

In the presidential race, the Gaullist Party (Union of Democrats for the Republic, UDR) was represented by former Prime Minister Georges Pompidou. He was very popular in the conservative electorate in due to the economic growth when he led the cabinet (from 1962 to 1968) and his role in the settlement of the May 68 crisis and the winning the June 1968 legislative campaign. In his presidential campaign, he obtained the support of the Independent Republicans and their leader Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, who had voted "no" in the referendum.

The French Communist Party (PCF) proposed to the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO, Socialist Party) to present a candidate with a common program, but the SFIO refused. The Left was severely divided in this election. The PCF candidate was Jacques Duclos, one of the historical leaders of the party. The mayor of Marseillemarker, Gaston Defferre, was the SFIO candidate and campaigned with Pierre Mendès France, would have become Prime Minister had Defferre been elected to the Presidency. This candidacy was the first - and so far, only - dual "ticket" in a French Presidential election. But Defferre's campaign was weakened by the decision of centrist interim President Alain Poher to run. As Chairman of the Senatemarker, Poher had led the "no" campaign in the referendum. The success of the "no" campaign gave him the legitimacy to run for the Presidency and he rallied a large swathe of centre-right and centre-left voters.

Michel Rocard and Alain Krivine stood as candidates expressing the ideas of the May 68 movements, though the Trotskyist Krivine took a far more radical stance.

First round

Candidate Party Vote Percent
  Georges Pompidou Union of Democrats for the Republic (UDR) 10,051,816 44.45%
  Alain Poher Progress and Modern Democracy (PDM) 5,268,561 23.31%
  Jacques Duclos French Communist Party (PCF) 4,808,285 21.27%
  Gaston Defferre French Section of the Workers International (SFIO) 1,133,222 5.01%
  Michel Rocard Unified Socialist Party (PSU) 816,471 3.61%
  Louis Ducatel Independent 286,447 1.26%
  Alain Krivine Revolutionary Communist League (LCR) 239,106 1.05%
Total 22,603,908 100%


The second round saw Pompidou facing Poher. None of the left-wing candidates reached the second round, in spite of the good campaign and result of Duclos, who scored the best ever result for a Communist in a presidential election. The Socialists supported reluctantly the centerist Chairman of the Senatemarker. The Communists refused to choose and used a slogan which was equivalent to the phrase "It's six of one and half a dozen of the other" (c'est bonnet blanc et blanc bonnet).

Second round

Candidate Party Vote Percent
  Georges Pompidou Union for the Defense of the Republic (UDR) 11,064,371 58.21%
  Alain Poher Progress and Modern Democracy (PDM) 7,943,118 41.78%
Total 19,007,489 100%


Georges Pompidou was elected President of France with a comfortable majority.


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