With only eight days to go to the voting in the first ballot in the French general elections on 12 March, the opinion polls show a close race between the main parties of the Left against the combined parties of President Giscard d'Estaing's Centre Right coalition.
LV & SV: Audience applauds candidates on balcony as their names are called. (3 SHOTS)
LV & SV: Audience applauds Jean-Marie Le Pen as he arrived at rostrum. (2 SHOTS)
SV: Le Pen speaks.
SV: Audience applauds.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: With only eight days to go to the voting in the first ballot in the French general elections on 12 March, the opinion polls show a close race between the main parties of the Left against the combined parties of President Giscard d'Estaing's Centre Right coalition. But there are more than 40 political parties in France, and nearly as many politically active groups. They range from the extreme left of the political spectrum to ultra-Right parties. Many, if not all are putting up candidates in the general election.
SYNOPSIS: One of the extreme right groups, the National Front, held a rally in Paris last night (2 March). It was a chance for their supporters to here come of the party's 150 candidates. At the rally many of the speakers protested against the refusal of French broadcasting authorities to allow the party broadcasting time during the campaign. There was an enthusiastic greeting for Monsieur Jean-Marie Le Pen, the President of the National Front. He is one of their candidates for the Paris area.
Political observers say the National Front, like some of the other parties campaigning on an extreme platform, have little chance of making much impression at the polls. But it has been stressed that the importance of minority parties cannot be ignored. Between them they could attract up to five percent of the votes in the first poll, and this could give them a balance of power as their supporters are wooed by the big parties before the second ballot.