In France the opposition Socialist, Communist and left-wing Radical Parties have begun campaigning together for next Sunday's (19 March) decisive second round of general election polling, after patching up a damaging six-month quarrel over their joint platform.
SV Left to right French Communist leader Georges Marchais, Socialist leader Francois Mitterrand and Radical leader Robert Fabre seated
SV Mitterrand speaking
SV Guallist leader Jacques Chirac (right) and Jean Lecanuet seated
CU Chirac speaking
SV Lecanuet and Chirac shaking hands
In a television interview on Tuesday French Prime Minister Raymond Barre said the left-wing electoral pact would be of far greater benefit to the Communists than to their partners. "My impression is that the Communists have won all along the line" he said.
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Background: In France the opposition Socialist, Communist and left-wing Radical Parties have begun campaigning together for next Sunday's (19 March) decisive second round of general election polling, after patching up a damaging six-month quarrel over their joint platform.
SYNOPSIS: On Monday (23 March) the leaders of the three parties met in Paris to finalise their plans for the second round. Communist leader Georges Marchais, Socialist leader Francois Mitterrand and Radical chief Robert Fabre announced that their parties would govern together if they won power.
Later, at a news conference, Monsieur Mitterrand spoke about their aspirations for the future. He said that they would move into a new era of political action, with the parities of the left having pledged to govern together. The composition of their government, he declared, would be based on respect for the will of the electorate and would be founded on an understanding of the legality of human rights, duty, consultation and solidarity.
Monsieur Mitterrand also mentioned that a reciprocal agreement had been reached as to which left-wing candidates would stand down in the second round.
On Tuesday (14 March) Gaullist leader Jacques Chirac and Centrist chief Jean Lecanuet met to decide on government tactics for the second round. The Centre parties have formed a coalition to back President Valery Giscard d'Estaing.
Monsieur Chirac also spoke to newsmen after the meeting and said that together with Bertrand Motte representing the Independent Centre Party, the Gaullists and Monsieur Lecanuet's group had examined the situation after the first round. He stressed that rather than settling differences of opinion the centre-right coalition had, on the contrary, simply re-affirmed their agreement.
Monsieur Chirac concluded his statement by saying that the government parties were taking a close look at what conclusions could be drawn from the present state of the electoral campaign.
In the first round ballot the combined left beat the centre-right parties by a slim 1.1 per cent.