France is wondering today whether President de Gaulle will quit the political scene if he fails to win an absolute majority in Sunday's Presidential Election.
A Gaullist Party (U.N.R.) rally in Paris last night, with the audience watching the President's address on a giant television screen: and President de Gaulle speaking (S.O.F. French).
TRANSCRIPT: PRESIDENT DE GAULLE: "Five candidates present you with five viewpoints. You have heard them all and recognise them. Their denigrating voices on all aspects of policy, and their wide promises.....These are the voices, the promises..... The calls of these old fashioned parties pretending that they are able to return to the old regime......The only point on which they are agreed is my departure......All the improvements are decried by these champions of decadence......The current policies which can easily be the beginning of a revival, can just as easily be decried by these champions of an odious past. They are none the less recognised by the whole world. Long live the Republic. Long live France."
EDITORS: SOUND ON FILM PRESIDENT SPEAKING IN FRENCH STARTS AT 16 FEET, 25 SECONDS.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: France is wondering today whether President de Gaulle will quit the political scene if he fails to win an absolute majority in Sunday's Presidential Election. The main question left after his first television address of the campaign last night (Tuesday), is whether he is prepared to go to a second ballot if required.
(Failing an absolute majority in Sunday's ballot, the two candidates with the largest number of votes will fight it out in a run off election a fortnight later on December 19th.)
In his 15-minute speech, President De Gaulle warned that France would fall back into chaos if he were not returned to office, and attacked his five opponents as "Champions of Decay".
During his address the President said:
(Before the address, the President had remained aloof from the campaign - which is now in its third week - and had seen his rating in public opinion polls fall from 61 per cent to 51 per cent and less. His aides were widely reported to have urged him to make the speech as a counter to the increasing activity - and popularity - of his opponents.)