With the first round in the French elections only weeks away (12 March), the Socialists, Communists and Left-wing Radicals together hold a healthy lead over the Government parties in the latest public opinion poll.
GV & SV: French Prime Minister Raymond Barre arriving at political rally in Beauvais.
SV: Barre greets French industrialist Marcel Dassault.
GV: Crowd listening speeches. (3 SHOTS)
SV: M. Barre, sitting in front of Dassault, listens to speeches.
CU: Barre clapping.
CU: Dassault smiling.
GV: Crowd applauding.
SV: Barre speaking, followed by applause.
The French election will be held in two rounds on 12 and 19 March. To be elected in the first round, candidates must gain an absolute majority against all comers. In the second round, the person who gets the most votes is elected to the National Assembly. About 35 million French citizens are eligible to vote in the elections for 491 seats in the assembly.
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Background: With the first round in the French elections only weeks away (12 March), the Socialists, Communists and Left-wing Radicals together hold a healthy lead over the Government parties in the latest public opinion poll. The poll, published last week (22 February) indicates 50 percent would vote for the leftwing parties, but only 45 percent for the parties in the present government. Meanwhile, leading government members in their campaigning, are warning that a left-wing victory would mean economic mismanagement of France. Such a warning came from Prime Minister Raymond Barre at an election rally last Friday (24 February).
SYNOPSIS: The rally was held in the farming constituency of Beauvais in the Oise region just north of Paris.
The first person the Prime Minister greeted on arrival was Monsieur Marcel Dassault, the French aircraft manufacturer, who is the Gaullist member of parliament for the area.
M. Dassault, who is 86, heads a business empire which tops the list of companies due for nationalisation if there is a left-wing victory.
In his speech, Prime Minister Barre warned that such a victory would undo what the people of France had achieved by working together during the past 20 years. To some extent, political observers share this view. They say that, if the left stays united long enough to win the election, there would be a major change, if not upheaval, in France's economic policies, in the distribution of wealth, in the way France is ruled and its relations with other nations.