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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Centre-left is a political term that describes individuals, political parties or organisations such as think tanks whose ideology lies between the centre and the left on the left-right spectrum. It excludes far left stances. The term may refer to a position to the left of a centrist position in a given country, or it may refer to a position to the left in some hypothetical global political spectrum.[1]

The main ideologies of the centre-left are social liberalism and social democracy, it can also include democratic socialism, green politics, and some progressives.


Ideologies associated with centre-left

The main ideology of the Centre-Left is social democracy. Throughout the world, social democrats support:

A mixed economy consisting of both private enterprise and publicly owned or subsidized programs of education, universal health care, child care and related social services for all citizens.

An extensive system of social security (although usually not to the extent advocated by socialists), with the stated goal of counteracting the effects of poverty and insuring the citizens against loss of income following illness, unemployment or retirement.

Equal rights and opportunity.

Government bodies that regulate private enterprise in the interests of workers and consumers by ensuring labor rights (i.e. supporting worker access to trade unions), consumer protections, and fair market competition.

Environmentalism and environmental protection laws; for example, funding for alternative energy resources and laws designed to combat global warming.

A value-added/progressive taxation system to fund government expenditures.

Immigration and multiculturalism.

Fair trade over free trade.

A foreign policy supporting the promotion of democracy, the protection of human rights and where possible, effective multilateralism.

Advocacy of social justice, human rights, social rights, civil rights and civil liberties.

The term may be used to imply positions on the environment, religion, public morality and so on, but these are usually not the defining characteristics, since centre-right parties may take similar positions on these issues.[2] A centre-left party may or may not be more concerned with reducing industrial emissions regardless of the impact on factory-belt employment than a centre-right party.[3][4][5] Support for religious fundamentalism may be associated with the left in some Muslim countries and with the right in the United States.[6][7]

Relative definition

In most European countries with mixed economies, the center-left would include social democrats, progressives and also some democratic socialists and greens (in particular the eco-socialists).[8][9]

Absolute definition

An "absolute" definition of centre-left refers to a position on some hypothetical global political spectrum. Thus the African National Congress of South Africa terms itself "left", although as the dominant party it is by definition centrist in the South African political spectrum.[10][11] Similarly, the Communist Party of China is centrist in the sense of being the dominant (the only) political party in China, but also characterizes itself as "left".[12]

The policies of a party that is centrist or centre-left in one country could be considered right-wing or left-wing in another country. In Hong Kong the "centre" position is far to the right of the "centre" position in the mainland People's Republic of China.[13] The dominant People's Action Party in Singapore would now be considered "right" in an absolute sense compared to other governments in the region, although the party has in the past characterized itself as socialist, or "left".[14] European social democrat policies would be considered right-wing in Cuba and left-wing in the United States.[15][16]

See also

External links


  1. ^ Charles Funderburk, Robert G. Thobaben (1989). Political ideologies: left, center, right. Harper & Row. ISBN 0060422114.  
  2. ^ John Lloyd (October 2, 2009). "Europe’s centre-left suffers in the squeezed middle". Financial Times. Retrieved 2009-11-14.  
  3. ^ "Climate action now! Socialist Alliance Climate Change Charter". Socialist Alliance. Retrieved 2009-11-14.  
  4. ^ "Spotlight on pollution and the environment". Workers Power. 2008/05/08.,1608,0,0,1,0. Retrieved 2009-11-14.  
  5. ^ Tierra Curry (November 6, 2009). "Dirty Coal Czar Confirmed by Senate". Center for Biological Diversity. Retrieved 2009-11-14.  
  6. ^ Nadeem F. Paracha (03 May, 2009). "Whatever happened to ‘Islamic Socialism’?". Dawn Media Group. Retrieved 2009-11-14.  
  7. ^ "The Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party". TheocracyWatch. September 05, 2008. Retrieved 2009-11-14.  
  8. ^ John W. Cioffi and Martin Höpner (21 April 2006). "Interests, Preferences, and Center-Left Party Politics in Corporate Governance Reform". Council for European Studies at Columbia University. Retrieved 2009-11-14.  
  9. ^ Manfred Ertel, Hans-Jürgen Schlamp and Stefan Simons (09/24/2009). "The Credibility Trap - Europe's Center-Left Parties Stuck in a Dead End". Der Spiegel.,1518,650812,00.html. Retrieved 2009-11-14.  
  10. ^ David Jefferess (2008). Postcolonial resistance: culture, liberation and transformation. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0802091903.  
  11. ^ "ANC Holds Strong Lead in South African Election". VOA News. 23 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-15.  
  12. ^ "The Communist Party of China (CPC)". People's Daily. Retrieved 2009-11-15.  
  13. ^ Keith Bradsher (June 21, 2007). "Thriving Hong Kong capitalism in Communist embrace". New York Time. Retrieved 2009-11-14.  
  14. ^ Diane K. Mauzy, Robert Stephen Milne (2002). Singapore politics under the People's Action Party. Routledge. ISBN 0415246520.  
  15. ^ Patricia Grogg (November 14, 2009). "POLITICS-CUBA: Moderate Dissident Group Convenes Congress". IPS Interpress Service. Retrieved 2009-11-14.  
  16. ^ "Just 53% Say Capitalism Better Than Socialism". Rasmussen Reports. April 09, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-14.  


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