The campaign for French general elections, which are due to be held in nine weeks time, gathered pace at the weekend as major political groups outlined their policies.
GV INTERIOR: Pierre Sudreau, Mayor of Blois, seen speaking on closed circuit television.
SV PAN OVER: Members of the public listening to the Mayor's speech.
SV: French Prime Minister Raymond Barre speaking. (THREE SHOTS)
The general election will be held in two rounds on March 12 and 19th, and one of the central issues in the build-up is the ability of the left-wing parties to settle the differences and form a united front. The previous opposition coalition collapsed after the Socialists and the small Radical Party accused the Communist Party of wanting to nationalise too many companies and also attacked its defence policy. At the last general election the Communists gained over 21 percent of the vote, and if an opposition coalition is formed, it could prove to be a serious threat to the Government.
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Background: The campaign for French general elections, which are due to be held in nine weeks time, gathered pace at the weekend as major political groups outlined their policies. Speaking at a rally for the right and centre coalition Government on Saturday (7 January) the French Prime Minister, Raymond Barre, outlined a series of measures - including tax concessions - to be adopted if the Government retains its majority.
SYNOPSIS: The rally took place in the central French town of Blois, and before Monsieur Barre's speech, the Mayor of Blois - Pierre Sudreau - addressed the crowd of 7,000 on closed circuit television. He told them that there were several reasons why the town had been chosen for the event. It had an historic past, was located in the heart of the country, and had a special appeal for him personally.
The purpose of the Prime Minister's speech was to tell the people his Government's objectives for the next five years and to launch the programme on which it will fight the forthcoming elections. He told them that, if elected, his right and centre coalition party intended to offer tax concessions for the next two years, as well as increasing family allowances and old age pensions. Other proposals included shorter hours for workers engaged in heavy industry; special measures for the employment of young people; and 10,000 more police to ensure the country's internal security.
Mr. Barre went on to mention some far-reaching reforms that were planned for the future. These included the strengthening of the citizen's rights against the bureaucracy through the appointment of an independent investigator; and the setting up of worker's bodies to participate in the running of large firms. He also launched into a vigorous attack on the opposition parties. How could they govern together he asked, when they continually disagreed on basic principles and accused one another of treason. He discounted their challenge for the elections by saying that all they proposed was economic adventure and political powerlessness.