Party of European Socialists
PresidentStefan Löfven (SE)
Secretary-GeneralAchim Post (DE)
Founded9 November 1992; 31 years ago (1992-11-09)
Preceded byConfederation of the Socialist Parties of the European Community (1973)
HeadquartersRue Guimard 10,
1040 Brussels, Belgium
Think tankFoundation for European Progressive Studies
Youth wingYoung European Socialists
Women's wingPES Women
IdeologySocial democracy
Political positionCentre-left[1][2]
International affiliationProgressive Alliance[3]
Socialist International[4]
European Parliament groupProgressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
Colours  Red
European Parliament
134 / 705
European Council
5 / 27
European Commission
8 / 27
Lower Houses
2,327 / 6,312
Upper Houses
645 / 1,498

The Party of European Socialists (PES) is a social democratic[5][6] European political party.[7]

The PES comprises national-level political parties from all the European economic area states (EEA) plus the United Kingdom. This includes major parties such as the Social Democratic Party of Germany, the French Socialist Party, the British Labour Party, the Italian Democratic Party, the Portuguese Socialist Party, the Romanian Social Democrat Party and the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party. Parties from a number of other European countries and from the Mediterranean region are also admitted to the PES as associate or observer parties.[8] Most member, associate, and observer parties are members of the wider Progressive Alliance or Socialist International.[3][4]

The PES is currently led by its president, Stefan Löfven, a former Prime Minister of Sweden. Its political group in the European Parliament is the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D). The PES also operates in the European Committee of the Regions (in the PES Group in the Committee of the Regions) and the European Council.


The party's English name is "Party of European Socialists". In addition, the following names are used in other languages:

In March 2014 following the congress in Rome, the PES added the tagline "Socialists and Democrats" to its name following the admission of Italy's Democratic Party into the organisation.[9]



In 1961, the Socialists in the European Parliament attempted to produce a common 'European Socialist Programme' but this was neglected due to the applications of Britain, Denmark, Ireland and Norway to join the European Community. The Socialists' 1962 congress pushed for greater democratisation and powers for Parliament, though it was only in 1969 that this possibility was examined by the member states.[10]


In 1973, Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom joined the European Community, bringing in new parties from these countries. The enlarged Socialist Congress met in Bonn and inaugurated the Confederation of the Socialist Parties of the European Community. The Congress also passed a resolution on social policy, including the right to decent work, social security, democracy and equality in the European economy.[11] In 1978, the Confederation of Socialist Parties approved the first common European election Manifesto. It focused on several goals among which the most important were to ensure a right to decent work, fight pollution, end discrimination, protect the consumer and promote peace, human rights and civil liberties.


At its Luxembourg Congress in 1980, the Confederation of Socialist Parties approved its first Statute. The accession of Greece to the EU in 1981, followed by Spain and Portugal in 1986, brought in more parties.

In 1984, a common Socialist election manifesto proposed a socialist remedy for the economic crisis of the time by establishing a link between industrial production, protection of fundamental social benefits, and the fight for an improved quality of life.[11]


In 1992, with the European Community becoming the European Union and with the Treaty of Maastricht establishing the framework for political parties at a European level, the Confederation of Socialist Parties voted to transform itself into the Party of European Socialists. The party's first programme concentrated on job creation, democracy, gender equality, environmental and consumer protection, peace and security, regulation of immigration, discouragement of racism and fighting organised crime.[11]

Along with the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, the founding members of the PES were:[12]


In 2004, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen defeated Giuliano Amato to be elected President of the PES, succeeding Robin Cook in the post. He was re-elected for a further 2.5 years at the PES Congress in Porto on 8 December 2006 and again at the Prague Congress in 2009.


In 2010, the Foundation for European Progressive Studies was founded as the political foundation (think tank) of the PES.

Mr Rasmussen stood down at the PES Progressive Convention in Brussels on 24 November 2011. He was replaced as interim president by Sergey Stanishev, at the time chairman of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and former prime minister of Bulgaria.

On 28–29 September 2012, the PES Congress in Brussels[13] Congress elected interim president Sergey Stanishev as full President, as well as four deputies: Jean-Christophe Cambadélis (1st Vice-President – PS), Elena Valenciano (PSOE), Jan Royall (Labour) and Katarína Neveďalová (Smer-SD). The same Congress elected Achim Post (SPD) as its new secretary general, and adopted a process which it described as "democratic and transparent" for electing its next candidate for Commission President in 2014.[14] Sergey Stanishev was re-elected PES President on 22–23 June 2015 in Budapest. The Congress also approved Achim Post (SPD) as the Secretary-General as well as the four Vice-Presidents: Jean-Christophe Cambadélis (PS), Carin Jämtin (Swedish Social Democratic Party), Katarína Neveďalová (Smer-SD) and Jan Royall (Labour).

On 7–8 December 2018, the PES Congress gathered in Lisbon to elect its leadership. Sergey Stanishev was confirmed as party President and Achim Post (SPD) as secretary general. Iratxe García (Spanish Socialist Workers' Party) was elected by the new presidency 1st Vice-President of the PES and Francisco André (Socialist Party (Portugal)), Katarína Neveďalová (Smer-SD) and Marita Ulvskog (Swedish Social Democratic Party) were elected PES Vice-Presidents. During the PES Presidency of October 2019, Heléne Fritzon (Swedish Social Democratic Party) became PES Vice-President, replacing Marita Ulvskog.

On 22–23 February 2019, the PES held its Election Congress in Madrid to endorse a Common Candidate and adopt its manifesto for the 2019 European Parliament election. The Election Congress acclaimed European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and adopted its manifesto: A New Social Contract for Europe.[15]


On 16 December 2021, the PES held its Council in Brussels, adopting the resolution: Fairness, Sustainability, Respect: a progressive vision for the future of Europe.[16]

On 14–15 October 2022, the PES Congress in Berlin elected Stefan Löfven (Swedish Social Democratic Party) as PES President and welcomed a new PES leadership team:[17] Caroline Gennez (Vooruit (political party)) as Treasurer, Iratxe García (Spanish Socialist Workers' Party) as First Vice President, Katarina Barley (SPD) and Francisco André (Socialist Party (Portugal)) as Executive Vice Presidents, Tanja Fajon (Social Democrats (Slovenia)), Victor Negrescu (Social Democratic Party (Romania)), Kati Piri (Labour Party (Netherlands)), Andrzej Szejna (New Left), and Radmila Šekerinska (Social Democratic Union of Macedonia) as Vice Presidents. Achim Post (SPD) continued as Secretary General, Giacomo Filibeck (Democratic Party (Italy)) took up the position of Executive Secretary General, Yonnec Polet (Socialist Party (Belgium)) remained as Deputy Secretary General, and Saar van Bueren (Labour Party (Netherlands)) became Deputy Secretary General. The Congress adopted the resolution: With Courage For Europe: leading Europe through change.[18]

On 29 June 2023, Georgian Dream was removed from the PES due to activities and positions far outside PES values.[19]

On 12 October, after the 2023 Slovak parliamentary election, the PES suspended Smer-SD and Hlas-SD over their plans to enter into coalition with the ultranationalist Slovak National Party (SNS), which the PES views as a "radical-right party."[20]

On 2 March 2024, the PES held its Election Congress in Rome and acclaimed European Commissioner Nicolas Schmit as presidential candidate and adopted its election programme.[21]


Member parties

The PES has thirty-three full member parties from each of the twenty-seven EU member states, Norway and the UK. There are a further twelve associate and twelve observer parties from other European countries.[22]

State Name abbr. MEPs National MPs
 Austria Social Democratic Party of Austria
Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs
5 / 19
40 / 183
19 / 62
 Belgium Socialist Party
Parti socialiste
2 / 8
[. 1]
19 / 63
7 / 24
[. 1]
1 / 13
[. 2]
9 / 87
4 / 35
[. 2]
 Bulgaria Bulgarian Socialist Party
Българска социалистическа партия
Bulgarska sotsialisticheska partiya
5 / 17
23 / 240
 Croatia Social Democratic Party of Croatia
Socijaldemokratska partija Hrvatske
4 / 12
37 / 151
 Cyprus Movement for Social Democracy
Κίνημα Σοσιαλδημοκρατών
Kinima Sosialdimokraton
1 / 6
4 / 56
 Czech Republic Social Democracy
Sociální demokracie
1 / 21
0 / 200
1 / 81
 Denmark Social Democrats
3 / 14
49 / 179
 Estonia Social Democratic Party
Sotsiaaldemokraatlik Erakond
2 / 7
9 / 101
 Finland Social Democratic Party of Finland
Suomen sosialidemokraattinen puolue
Finlands socialdemokratiska parti
2 / 14
43 / 200
 France Socialist Party
Parti socialiste
3 / 79
65 / 348
28 / 577
 Germany Social Democratic Party of Germany
Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands
16 / 96
206 / 735
19 / 69
 Greece Panhellenic Socialist Movement – Movement for Change
Πανελλήνιο Σοσιαλιστικό Κίνημα – Κίνημα Αλλαγής
Panellínio Sosialistikó Kínima– Kínima Allagís
2 / 21
23 / 300
 Hungary Democratic Coalition
Demokratikus Koalíció
4 / 21
16 / 199
Hungarian Socialist Party
Magyar Szocialista Párt
0 / 21
10 / 199
 Ireland Labour Party
Páirtí an Lucht Oibre
0 / 13
4 / 60
7 / 160
 Italy Democratic Party
Partito Democratico
14 / 76
39 / 200
69 / 400
Italian Socialist Party
Partito Socialista Italiano
0 / 76
0 / 200
0 / 400
 Latvia Social Democratic Party "Harmony"[23]
Sociāldemokrātiskā partija "Saskaņa"
1 / 8
0 / 100
 Lithuania Social Democratic Party of Lithuania
Lietuvos socialdemokratų partija
2 / 11
12 / 141
 Luxembourg Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party
Lëtzebuerger Sozialistesch Aarbechterpartei
Parti ouvrier socialiste luxembourgeois
Luxemburger Sozialistische Arbeiterpartei
1 / 6
10 / 60
 Malta Labour Party
Partit Laburista
4 / 6
38 / 69
 Netherlands Labour Party
Partij van de Arbeid
6 / 29
6 / 75
9 / 150
 Norway Labour Party
AP Not in EU
48 / 169
 Poland New Left
Nowa Lewica
5 / 52
9 / 100
26 / 460
 Portugal Socialist Party
Partido Socialista
9 / 21
78 / 230
 Romania Social Democratic Party
Partidul Social Democrat
8 / 33
47 / 136
109 / 330
 Slovakia Direction – Social Democracy
Smer – sociálna demokracia
2 / 14
42 / 150
 Slovenia Social Democrats
Socialni demokrati
2 / 8
7 / 90
 Spain Spanish Socialist Workers' Party
Partido Socialista Obrero Español
21 / 58
89 / 265
121 / 350
 Sweden Swedish Social Democratic Party
Sveriges socialdemokratiska arbetareparti
5 / 21
107 / 349
 United Kingdom Labour Party Labour Not in EU
168 / 794
199 / 632
Social Democratic and Labour Party
Páirtí Sóisialta Daonlathach an Lucht Oibre
SDLP Not in EU
0 / 794
2 / 18
Associated parties
State Name abbr. European MPs National MPs
 Albania Socialist Party of Albania
Partia Socialiste e Shqipërisë
74 / 140
 Bosnia and Herzegovina Social Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Socijaldemokratska partija Bosne i Hercegovine
0 / 15
5 / 42
 Bulgaria Party of Bulgarian Social Democrats
партия Български социалдемократи
Partiya Bulgarski Sotsialdemokrati
0 / 17
1 / 240
 Iceland Social Democratic Alliance
7 / 63
 Moldova European Social Democratic Party
Partidul Social Democrat European
0 / 101
 Montenegro Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro
Demokratska partija socijalista Crne Gore
17 / 81
Social Democratic Party of Montenegro
Socijaldemokratska partija Crne Gore
0 / 81
 North Macedonia Social Democratic Union of Macedonia
Социјалдемократски сојуз на Македонија
Socijaldemokratski Sojuz na Makedonija
39 / 120
 Slovakia Voice – Social Democracy
Hlas – sociálna demokracia
0 / 14
11 / 150
 Serbia Democratic Party
Демократска странка
Demokratska stranka
8 / 250
 Switzerland Social Democratic Party of Switzerland
Sozialdemokratische Partei der Schweiz
Parti socialiste suisse
Partito Socialista Svizzero
Partida Socialdemocrata de la Svizra
39 / 200
9 / 46
 Turkey Republican People's Party
Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi
126 / 600
Peoples' Equality and Democracy Party
Halkların Eşitlik ve Demokrasi Partisi
Partiya Wekhevî û Demokrasiya Gelan
57 / 600
Observer parties
State Name abbr. European MPs National MPs
 Andorra Social Democratic Party
Partit Socialdemòcrata
3 / 28
 Armenia Armenian Revolutionary Federation
Հայ Յեղափոխական Դաշնակցութիւն
Hay Yeghap’vokhakan Dashnakts’ut’iwn
10 / 107
 Belarus Hramada
Беларуская сацыял-дэмакратычная партыя (Грамада́)
Biełaruskaja sacyjał-demakratyčeskaja partija (Hromada)
БСДП Parties banned by the Lukashenko regime
Narodna Hramada
Беларуская сацыял-дэмакратычная партыя (Народная Грамада)
Bielaruskaja Sacyjal-Demakratyčnaja Partyja (Narodnaja Hramada)
 Egypt Egyptian Social Democratic Party
الحزب المصرى الديمقراطى الاجتماعى
al-Ḥizb al-Maṣrī al-Dimuqrāṭī al-Ijtmāʿī
4 / 596
 Israel Israeli Labor Party
מִפְלֶגֶת הָעֲבוֹדָה הַיִּשְׂרְאֵלִית
Mifleget HaAvoda HaIsraelit
4 / 120
0 / 120
 Kosovo Self-Determination Movement
Lëvizja Vetëvendosje
56 / 120
 Latvia Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party
Latvijas Sociāldemokrātiskā strādnieku partija
0 / 8
0 / 100
 Morocco Socialist Union of Popular Forces
الاتحاد الاشتراكي للقوات الشعبية
Al-Ittihad Al-Ishtirakiy Lilqawat Al-Sha'abiyah
Union Socialiste des Forces Populaires
24 / 270
20 / 395
 Northern Cyprus Republican Turkish Party
Cumhuriyetçi Türk Partisi
12 / 50
 Palestine Fatah
45 / 132
 Romania PRO Romania
PRO România
1 / 33
0 / 330
 San Marino Party of Socialists and Democrats
Partito dei Socialisti e dei Democratici
3 / 60
 Serbia Party of Freedom and Justice
Странка слободе и правде
Stranka slobode i pravde
16 / 250
 Tunisia Democratic Forum for Labour and Liberties
التكتل الديمقراطي من أجل العمل والحريات
at-Takattul ad-Dīmuqrāṭī min ajl il-‘Amal wal-Ḥurriyyāt
Forum démocratique pour le travail et les libertés
0 / 217
  1. ^ a b French-speaking seats
  2. ^ a b Flemish seats

Constituent organisations

The youth organisation of the PES is the Young European Socialists. PES Women is the party's women's organisation, led by Zita Gurmai. The LGBTI campaign organisation is Rainbow Rose.[24]

International memberships

PES is an associated organisation of Socialist International and the Progressive Alliance.

President and Presidency

The President (currently former Prime Minister of Sweden Stefan Löfven) represents the party on a daily basis and chairs the Presidency, which also consists of the Secretary General, President of the S&D group in Parliament and one representative per full/associate member party and organisation. They may also be joined by the President of the European Parliament (if a PES member), a PES European Commissioner and a representative from associate parties and organisations.[24]

The list below shows PES presidents and the presidents of its predecessors.[25]

President State National party Term Photo
1. Wilhelm Dröscher  West Germany Social Democratic Party of Germany April 1974 January 1979
2. Robert Pontillon  France Socialist Party January 1979 March 1980
3. Joop den Uyl  Netherlands Labour Party March 1980 May 1987
4. Vítor Constâncio  Portugal Socialist Party May 1987 January 1989
5. Guy Spitaels  Belgium Socialist Party February 1989 May 1992
6. Willy Claes  Belgium Socialist Party November 1992 October 1994
7. Rudolf Scharping  Germany Social Democratic Party of Germany March 1995 May 2001
8. Robin Cook  United Kingdom Labour Party May 2001 24 April 2004
9. Poul Nyrup Rasmussen  Denmark Social Democrats 24 April 2004 24 November 2011
10. Sergey Stanishev  Bulgaria Bulgarian Socialist Party 24 November 2011 14 October 2022
11. Stefan Löfven  Sweden Swedish Social Democratic Workers' Party 14 October 2022


The parties meet at the party Congress twice every five years to decide on political orientation, such as adopting manifestos ahead of elections. Every year that the Congress does not meet, the Council (a smaller version of the Congress) shapes PES policy. The Congress also elects the party's President, Vice-Presidents and the Presidency.[24]

The Leader's Conference brings together Prime Ministers and Party Leaders from PES parties three to four times a year to agree strategies and resolutions.[24]

European election primaries

In December 2009, the PES decided to put forward a candidate for Commission President at all subsequent elections.[26] On 1 March 2014, the PES organised for the first time a European election Congress where a Common Manifesto[27] was adopted and the Common Candidate designate for the post of Commission President, Martin Schulz, was elected by over a thousand participants in Rome, Italy. In 2019, progressives elected Frans Timmermans as PES Common Candidate to the European Elections, during the Election Congress in Madrid on 22–23 February 2019.

PES in the European institutions

Overview of the European institutions

Organisation Institution Number of seats
 European Union European Parliament
134 / 705
European Commission
8 / 27
European Council
(Heads of Government)
5 / 27
Council of the European Union
(Participation in Government)
11 / 27
Committee of the Regions
131 / 329
 Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
69 / 306

European Parliament

Further information: Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats

European Commission

European Commissioners are meant to remain independent, however there has been an increasing degree of politicisation within the Commission.[28] In the current European Commission, eight of the Commissioners belong to the PES family.

Portfolio Commissioner State Political party Photo
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell PSOE
Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight
Maroš Šefčovič Smer-SD
Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit LSAP

Economy Paolo Gentiloni PD
Cohesion and Reforms Elisa Ferreira PS
Equality Helena Dalli PL
Home Affairs Ylva Johansson S
International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen SDP

European Council

Of the 27 heads of state and government that are members of the European Council, four are from the PES, and therefore regularly attend PES summits to prepare for European Council meetings.

Member State Representative Title Political party Member of the Council since Photo
 Denmark Mette Frederiksen Prime Minister Social Democrats 27 June 2019
 Germany Olaf Scholz Chancellor SPD 8 December 2021
 Malta Robert Abela Prime Minister PL 13 January 2020
 Spain Pedro Sánchez Prime Minister PSOE 2 June 2018 100x

In third countries

Through its associate and observer parties the PES has seven head of state or government in non-EU countries:

State Representative Title Political party In power since Portrait
 Albania Edi Rama Prime Minister PS 13 September 2013
 Bosnia and Herzegovina Denis Bećirović Bosniak Member of the Presidency SDP BiH 16 November 2022
 Norway Jonas Gahr Støre Prime Minister A/Ap 14 October 2021
  Switzerland Élisabeth Baume-Schneider Councillor SP 1 January 2023
  Switzerland Beat Jans Councillor SP 1 January 2024

European Council and Council of Ministers

Party-alignment at the European Council is often loose, but has been the basis of some intergovernmental cooperation. At present five countries are led by a PES-affiliated leader, who represents that state at the European Council: Germany (Olaf Scholz), Spain (Pedro Sánchez), Malta (Robert Abela), and Denmark (Mette Frederiksen).

The makeup of national delegations to the Council of Ministers is at some times subject to coalitions: for the above governments led by a PES party, that party may not be present in all Council configurations; in other governments led by non-PES parties a PES minister may be its representative for certain portfolios. PES is in coalition in the following countries: Romania, Belgium, Slovenia and Estonia.


State Governing parties Affiliated EU party Population
 Germany Social Democratic Party
Alliance 90/The Greens
Free Democratic Party
 Spain Spanish Socialist Workers' Party
United Left
Catalonia in Common
 Poland Civic Coalition
New Left
Poland 2050
Polish People’s Party
Polish Initiative
The Greens
 Romania Social Democratic Party
National Liberal Party
 Belgium Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats
Reformist Movement
Vooruit (political party)
Socialist Party (Belgium)
Christian Democratic and Flemish
Groen (political party)
 Denmark Social Democrats
 Slovenia Freedom Movement (Slovenia)
Social Democrats (Slovenia)
The Left (Slovenia)
 Estonia Estonian Reform Party
Estonia 200
Social Democratic Party (Estonia)
 Malta Labour Party PES 514,564

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

Further information: Socialist Group

Committee of the Regions

PES has 122 members in the Committee of the Regions as of 2014.[29]


  1. ^ "Europe's centre-left urges majority voting in some EU foreign policy -paper". Reuters. 14 October 2022.
  2. ^ Johansson, Karl Magnus; Raunio, Tapio (2019). "Political Parties in the European Union". Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.013.1153. ISBN 978-0-19-022863-7.
  3. ^ a b "Member parties of the Progressive Alliance". 1 February 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Member parties of Socialist International". 1 February 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  5. ^ Nordsieck, Wolfram (2019). "European Union". Parties and Elections in Europe. Archived from the original on 8 June 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  6. ^ Richard Dunphy (2004). Contesting Capitalism?: Left Parties and European Integration. Manchester University Press. p. 103. ISBN 978-0-7190-6804-1.
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  10. ^ "Northern European Social Democracy and European Integration, 1960–1972. Moving towards a New Consensus?". Consensus and European Integration- Consensus et Intégration Européenne. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
  11. ^ a b c "History". Socialist Group website. Archived from the original on 1 November 2007. Retrieved 11 November 2007.
  12. ^ Skrzypek, Ania (2013). "Europe, Our Common Future" Celebrating 20 years of the Party of European Socialists (PDF). Belgium: FEPS – Foundation for European Progressive Studies. ISBN 978-3-85464-037-0. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 July 2020. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  13. ^ "Together for the Europe we need!". Zita Gurmai, President of PES Women. 26 July 2012. Archived from the original on 19 August 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  14. ^ "Ethics in politics : For strong moral conduct through a strong moral code" (PDF). PES Presidency declaration. 14 April 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 August 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  15. ^ "A New Social Contract for Europe". Party of European Socialists. 22 February 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2023.
  16. ^ "Fairness, Sustainability, Respect" (PDF). Party of European Socialists. 14 December 2021. Retrieved 13 February 2023.
  17. ^ "PES Congress welcomes new PES leadership team and four new member parties". Party of European Socialists. 15 October 2022. Retrieved 13 February 2023.
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  22. ^ "About the PES?". PES website. Archived from the original on 6 May 2014. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  23. ^ "Saskaņa joins Party of European Socialists". Public Broadcasting of Latvia. LETA. 27 November 2017. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  24. ^ a b c d "How does PES work?". PES website. Archived from the original on 30 October 2007. Retrieved 7 November 2007.
  25. ^ "Former PES Presidents". PES website. Archived from the original on 9 October 2007. Retrieved 21 January 2008.
  26. ^ "A New Direction for Progressive Societies. Resolution N. 2 A new way forward. Adopted by the 8th PES Congress" (PDF). PES. 8 December 2009. Retrieved 17 October 2010.[permanent dead link]
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