Centre-left politics

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Centre-left politics lean to the left on the left–right political spectrum but are closer to the centre than other left-wing politics. Those on the centre-left believe in working within the established systems to improve social justice. [1] The centre-left promotes a degree of social equality that it believes is achievable through promoting equal opportunity. [2] The centre-left emphasizes that the achievement of equality requires personal responsibility in areas in control by the individual person through their abilities and talents as well as social responsibility in areas outside control by the person in their abilities or talents. [3]


The centre-left opposes a wide gap between the rich and the poor and supports moderate measures to reduce the economic gap, such as a progressive income tax, laws prohibiting child labour, minimum wage laws, laws regulating working conditions, limits on working hours and laws to ensure the workers' right to organize. [2] The centre-left typically claims that complete equality of outcome is not possible, but instead that equal opportunity improves a degree of equality of outcome in society. [2]

In Europe, the centre-left includes social democrats, progressives, greens and the moderate Christian left. Some variants of liberalism, especially social liberalism, are described as centre-left, but many social liberals are in the centre of the political spectrum as well. [4] [5] In the Americas, in relation to economic policy, the center-left also includes economic progressive forms of Christian democracy, some of which may be politically syncretic mixing in the social conservatism of the center-right.


The main ideologies of the centre-left are social democracy (moderate forms), social liberalism (sometimes, when paired with other ideologies; can also be considered centrist), progressivism and green politics (also can take place under a red–green alliance when cooperating with other parties on the left).

Throughout the world, centre-left groups generally support:

The term may be used to imply positions on the environment, religion, public morality, etc., but these are usually not the defining characteristics, since centre-right parties may sometimes take similar positions on these issues. [6] A centre-left party may or may not be more concerned with reducing industrial emissions than a centre-right party [7] [8] if not explicitly adhering to a green ideology.


Academia is also divided on when the term "centre-left" came out. Scholars [ who? ] believe that it mainly appeared between the Bourbon Restoration (1814–1830) and the July Monarchy (1830–1848), a political-historical phase during the Kingdom of France reigned under an almost parliamentary system. During this period, the centre-left mainly showed Liberal Party and Movement Party. The Republicans was classified as left to far-left. the Third Party and the conservative-liberal Doctrinaires is centrist. Resistance Party was classified as centre-right and Ultra-royalists as right to far-right.

During this time, the centre-left was led by Adolphe Thiers (head of the liberal-nationalist Movement Party) and Odilon Barrot, who headed the populist "Dynastic Opposition". [9] The centre-left was Orléanist, but supported a liberal interpretation of the Charter of 1830, more power to the Parliament, manhood suffrage and support to rising European nationalisms. Adolphe Thiers served as Prime Minister for King Louis Philippe I twice (in 1836 and 1840), but he then lost the King's favour, and the centre-left rapidly fell. [10]

In France, during the Second Republic and the Second Empire the centre-left was not strong or organized, but became commonly associated with the moderate republicans' group in Parliament. Finally, in 1871 the Second Empire fell as consequence of the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War and Adolphe Thiers re-established the centre-left after the foundation of the Third Republic. This time the centre-left was constituted of moderate republicans, then called "Opportunists", anti-royalist liberals and radicals from the Republican Union. During the Third Republic, the centre-left was led by political and intellectual figures like Jules Dufaure, Édouard René de Laboulaye, Charles de Rémusat, Léon Say, William Waddington, Jean Casimir-Perier, Edmond Henri Adolphe Schérer and Georges Picot. [11]

The SPD is a social-democratic party in the centre-left political position in German politics. SPD Party Congress 2019 Logo.svg
The SPD is a social-democratic party in the centre-left political position in German politics.

Elsewhere in Europe, centre-left movements appeared from the 1860s, mainly in Spain and Italy. In Italy, the centre-left was born as coalition between the liberal Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour and the progressive Urbano Rattazzi, the heads respectively of the Right and Left groupings in Parliament. This alliance was called "connubio" ("marriage") for its opportunist characteristics. [12] In the 1900s, centre-left positions were expressed by people and parties who believed in social democracy and democratic socialism, but also some liberals or Christian-democrats were associated with the centre-left. Currently, the centre-left parties in Europe are united in the social democratic Party of European Socialists and ecologist European Green Party.

The prevalence of the position occurred mainly due to the rise of socialism caused Liberals to move away from laissez-faire policies to more interventionist policies, which created the New Liberal movement. New liberalism (or social liberalism), along with moderate socialism, is regarded as a representative modern centre-left ideology.

List of major centre-left parties by country

Flag of Antigua and Barbuda.svg  Antigua and Barbuda

Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia

Flag of the Bahamas.svg  The Bahamas

Flag of Bangladesh.svg  Bangladesh

Flag of Barbados.svg  Barbados

Flag of Belize.svg  Belize

Flag of Botswana.svg  Botswana

Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil

Flag of Cameroon.svg  Cameroon

Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada

Flag of Dominica.svg  Dominica

Flag of The Gambia.svg  The Gambia

Flag of Ghana.svg  Ghana

Flag of Guyana.svg  Guyana

Flag of India.svg  India

Flag of Ireland.svg  Ireland

Flag of Jamaica.svg  Jamaica

Flag of Kenya.svg  Kenya

Flag of Malaysia.svg  Malaysia

Flag of Mauritius.svg  Mauritius

Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand

Flag of Nigeria.svg  Nigeria

Flag of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan

Flag of the Philippines.svg  Philippines

Flag of Seychelles.svg  Seychelles

Flag of Singapore.svg  Singapore

Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa

Flag of Sri Lanka.svg  Sri Lanka

Flag of Trinidad and Tobago.svg  Trinidad and Tobago

Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom

Flag of the United States.svg  United States

Flag of Zambia.svg  Zambia

Flag of Zimbabwe.svg  Zimbabwe

See also

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