Of all the party leader now contesting the general election in France, one stands out for the energy of his campaigning: Monsieur Jacques Chirac, President of the Rally for the Republic, the principal party of the right.
1977: SV & CU INTERIOR Chirac signing papers at office desk. (2 shots)
CU Photograph General de Gaulle on windowsill.
GV Paris from window.
1976: SV Raymond Barre & Chirac shake hands at door of Hotel Matignon, Chirac leaves and enters car.
GV PAN FROM Party symbol TO Chirac waving from platform at rally. SV Audience. (2 shots)
SCU Chirac speaking
1977: MV Chirac leaves car, arrives at party headquarters.
SV Committee in progress, Chirac enters, kisses woman member, takes seat. (3 shots)
GV Town Hall, Paris.
SVs & CUs Chirac greets city officials and in conference with them. (4 shots)
SV Chirac & Bertrand Motte take seats.
SCU Jean Lecanuet & Jean-Pierre Soisson, MV group take seats. (3 shots)
SCU PAN & CU Chirac and others sign agreement (2 shots)
SV Soisson signs, Motte stands holding manifesto.
1978: SVs & CU Chirac talking to voters in Paris shopping street. (4 shots)
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Background: Of all the party leader now contesting the general election in France, one stands out for the energy of his campaigning: Monsieur Jacques Chirac, President of the Rally for the Republic, the principal party of the right.
SYNOPSIS: M. Chirac is now 45. He rose fast to become President Giscard's first Prime minister four year ago. He represents the Gaullist tradition, but owed his rapid promotion largely to the General's successor, the late President Pompidou.
In August 11976, he resigned as Prime Minister, and M. Raymond Barre was appointed in his place. There were too many differences between him and President Giscard for him to continue in office. They disagreed over taxation and defence, and above all over political strategy. M. Chirac wanted to devote more attention to meeting the challenge of the left.
A few months later, he established a firm political base. He was elected President of the Rally for the Republic, a reshaped version of the old Gaullist party. At a mass meeting in Paris, he plunged into the attack against the Socialist-Communist opposition alliance.
His aim was to bring unity and a news sense of purpose to the anti-Socialist forces in France.
In the old Parliament, M. Chirac was in a strong position as leader of the largest single party. But it was becoming evident that the French people might be tiring of 20 years of Gaullist-backed government, and be in a mood for change. M. Chirac was convinced of the need to rejuvenate the party if the right-centre alliance was not to be swept from power this time.
A year ago, he was elected Mayor of Paris. This was a direct challenge to President Giscard, who had put up his own candidate. The Mayoralty is an office of great prestige, and Frenchmen began to wonder if M. Chirac was preparing the ground for a bid for the Presidency itself.
But with Parliamentary elections looming, the government parties were under pressure to unite. Last September, the leaders of four groups of the right and centre came together to sign a common manifesto. This was at the time when the Socialist-Communist alliance was showing sings of falling apart. Which alliance holds fast in the second ballot in the forth-coming elections will be decisive factor in the final result.
No-one has campaigned harder than Jacques Chirac. He set himself to visit each of the 95 departments of France, and nearly achieved it. He has addressed hundreds of meetings and shaken thousands of hands. How far all this drive and energy will be rewarded with votes will be answered in the next two weeks.