Next year is Presidential election year in France.
SV PAN M. Coluche walking along street in Paris
CU AND SV Coluche climbs onto car roof and addresses woman passer-by (3 shots)
CU Pictures of Coluche on magazine covers (2 shots)
CU AND SV EXTERIOR Theatre de Gymnase with posters, people queuing (3 shots)
CU Coluche speaking in French, replying to reporters' questions, making gestures (2 shots)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Next year is Presidential election year in France. The main candidates have been joined by many others--twenty-six altogether. One of the more bizarre, a music hall comedian Michel Colucci whose stage name is Coluche is stealing the show, drawing more publicity, news comment and talk than all the others.
SYNOPSIS: A recent opinion poll said that if the election was held now, the outrageously four-mouthed clown would poll sixteen percent, only a few points below the communist, Socialist and Gaullist leaders.
The avowed leftist's candidacy began as a joke. His political platform appears to be his relentless abuse of other candidates and playing on the deep split in French political thinking.
His more printable sayings and his "bon mots" of the day have become the favourite topics of cafe conversation. He is currently topping the bill at the Gymnase Theatre in Paris and has become known as the only Presidential candidate playing to packed houses every night.
Newsmen asked why he is running for President. The thirty-six-year-old Coluche strung off a list of some of the candidates, applying pointed epithets to many, and said, using a vulgar phrase, he was simply rounding-out the types of contenders.
Much of the press see his following as just a symptom of the general malaise of a country bored by its politics. In typical Coluche fashion he tells reporters his political programme is in his trousers.
The comic candidate is caustic about Socialist leader Mitterand's third bid for the Presidency, saying he, himself, failed his school certificate but didn't try three times. But he has hinted that in exchange for specific campaign pledges, he would swing his voters behind Mitterand in the second round.
After receiving anonymous threats from a group claiming to defend the honour of the police, he was given an official bodyguard. His latest film, just released, severely questioned that honour. Other opposition has come from the National Campaign Control Commission set up to ensure the dignity of election campaigns. It has indicated Colunche could face an enquiry over his behaviour.