Moderate Socialist voters are seen as an important factor in the second round of voting in the French general election on Sunday (19 March).
EXTERIOR GV: Renault factory Paris.
MV: Factory workers leaving factory.
MV: Socialist leader Francois Mitterrand walking through crowd.
MV: Factory workers walking down street.
GV PAN: M. Mitterrand walks through crowd of factory workers.
MV: Factory workers looking on.
MV PULL BACK TO GV: M. Mitterrand surrounded by factory workers.
EXTERIOR GV: Elysee Palace.
MV: Prime Minster Raymond Barre steps from car and enters Palace.
MV: Mme Simone Veil, French Minister for Health, enters palace.
MV's: Other ministers step from cars and enter Palace. (3 SHOTS)
GV: Minister steps from car, runs up steps and enters Palace.
The Gaullists and the Centrist Party of President Giscard d'Estaing have entered into a similar pact to that of the Left. So the second round will be straight battle between the Left and the government coalition. Monsieur Pierre Mauroy, who has been considered as a possible successor to M. Mitterrand as Socialist leader, said on Thursday he estimated the Left-wing opposition was assured of 220 seats in the new National Assembly, which was 26 short of an absolute majority of the 491 seats at stake. He felt the opposition could win 31 more seats, and a majority, if voting discipline held firm.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Moderate Socialist voters are seen as an important factor in the second round of voting in the French general election on Sunday (19 March). Political observers say they cannot predict how these moderates will react to the electoral pact the Socialists and Communists struck last Monday (13 March). This reciprocal agreement called for Socialist candidates to stand down wherever Communists were best placed to win after last Sunday's first-round voting.
SYNOPSIS: Meanwhile, the campaigning goes on. Workers leaving the Renault car factory in Paris were the Socialists' target.
Socialist leader Francois Mitterrand was there to rally support after the fragile one percent lead the Left gained in the first round. The confidence of the Left, buoyed by opinion polls before the first balloting, has been ebbing away. As Monsieur Mitterrand was seeking support here, his Number Two, Monsieur Gaston Defferre, was on the brink of stating in Marseilles that the Left had already lost next Sunday's balloting-and the chance of coming to power.
Meanwhile, at the Elysee Palace, Prime Minister Raymond Barre, and other Ministers, arrived for a meeting. Since the first balloting, the ruling Centre-Right coalition has drummed the theme that a Leftist Government was a 'threat' to France's future. Government politicians have been vigorously tapping public fears of Communist participation in a Left-wing government. Monsieur Barre has appealed to Socialist and Left-wing radical voters not to help the Communists to power. The government's warning is that, if the Left wins, democracy in France could be threatened.