The leader of the small leftwing Radical Party, M. Robert Fabre, has stalked out of?
GV National Assembly, Paris
MV Leader of French Communist Party, Georges Marchais arrives and enters
MV Socialist leader, Francois Mitterrand arrives
MV Gaston Deferre and Robert Fabre arrive
GV INT Meeting
MV Mitterrand seated at head table
Marchais seated at table
GV EXT Independent National Centre
MVs INTERIOR Jacques Chirac and Bertrand Motte take seats at table
SV PAN News reporters watch as Chirac and Jean-Pierre Soisson, Jean Lecanuet stand at table with Motte holding placard (2 shots)
Newsmen look on as agreement is signed (5 shots)
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Background: The leader of the small leftwing Radical Party, M. Robert Fabre, has stalked out of a crucial meeting with France's Communist and Socialist parties. M. Fabre declared that sweeping nationalisation proposals put forward by the Communist Party, at a meeting in Paris on Wednesday (14 September) endangered free enterprise. Observers say this has severely strained the alliance and could lead to a split. This has raised serious doubts that the 'Left' will not be able to present a united front int he general elections next March and will thus destroy any opportunity to take power for the first time in twenty years. Meanwhile, the government parties in an apparent show of solidarity have signed a manifesto attacking the left.
SYNOPSIS: The crucial meeting of the 'Left' took place at the National Assembly with Communist Party leader, Georges Marchais, leading his delegation into the talks.
Next to arrive was the Socialist leader Francois Mitterrand, whose reported row with M. Marchais has raged throughout summer.
M. Gaston Deferre, a former government minister and leftwing Radical Party leader, Robert Fabre, completed the summit.
The opposition alliance enjoyed spectacular success in he municipal elections last March and opinion polls give it s clear popularity lead over President Valery Giscard d'Estaing's centre-right coalition government. But the dramatic walkout by M. Fabre has cast serious doubts on its unity.
Only a few metres away, another crucial meeting was also taking place.
Attended by the Mayor of Paris, Jacques Chirac and CNIP President Bertrand Motte, Jean Pierre-Soisson and Jean Lecanuet...it represented the government parties that hope to present a show of strength for next year's general elections. The four leaders met to sign a manifesto which declared unity for the majority parties.
In part the manifesto criticised the leftwing alliance as trying to solidify disparate elements of the community for purely electoral purposes. It described this as a 'technical' attempt. It also put forward a number of proposals that called for the principles of freedom, responsible government and justice. But whether the French population will again support the Government could very much depend on the viability of the opposition.