As official campaigning for next month's French elections opened on Monday (February 12), opinion polls were predicting a major swing towards the new Socialist-Communist alliance.
GV Building of Socialist Party in Paris
CU Sign 'Cite Malesherbes Voie Privee
SCU Post 'Avec le Parti Socialiste Programme Commun'
SV Mr Francois Mitterand General Secretary of French Socialist Party ZOOM IN TO Him speaking
SOF STARTS: Nous faisons partie..."
SOF ENDS: "...leurs representants."
"We are part of society like everybody else. We do not dispute anybody else's authority, but we insist that our right to universal suffrage should not be questioned. You may say that there is a certain feeling of disparity. Well, it's true -- it's partly true. It's true that M. Pompidou, President of all the French people, seems to insist on being the President of only half the people. It is a pity and we deplore this. But I think that wisdom will win and we do not express any particular passion. One can't deny that eleven, twelve, thirteen million French people who represent the left -- fourteen million maybe -- who represent the productive masses and the spirit of the working world, who represent a great many people attached to democracy and their country and world peace, one can't possibly deny that these people have the right to govern through their deputies."
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Background: As official campaigning for next month's French elections opened on Monday (February 12), opinion polls were predicting a major swing towards the new Socialist-Communist alliance. Socialist leader Francois Mitterand started his campaign at Party Headquarters by launching a counter-attack against President Pompidou.
The President had claimed on television that a leftwing victory at the March election would threaten the overthrow of French institutions. M. Mitterand claimed the president was using psychological threats against the voters.
With the polls predicting on II per cent Socialist-Communist lead over the Guallists, M. Mitterand said that President Pompidou would be forced to take account of the upsurge of leftwing support:
SYNOPSIS: In Paris, the French election opinion poll gives the Socialist-Communist front a twelve point lead over the Guallists. In his Party's Headquarters on Monday, Socialist leader Francois Mitterand attacked President Pompidou's recent criticism of the left wing coalition.
Reacting to President Pompidou's recent indication that he would dissolve the National Assembly and call for new elections if the left wing coalition wins parliamentary elections in March, Monsieur Mitterand said that his party represented those who voted for it, and that the voting rights of the French people should not be questioned.
Monsieur Mitterand's party recently backed its election challenge with a detailed programme of policy proposals which would radically alter France politically and economically. President Pompidou has said that this programme would completely overthrow France's institutions and reduce his own presidential power. In his speech, Monsieur Mitterand said that by ignoring the wishes of the voters the President seemed to insist on taking up a deplorable position - that of representing only half the French people.
Monsieur Mitterand said that no one could possibly deny the wishes of the millions of French people who represent the Left. The favourable polls, he said, offered increasing prospects of a major upheaval in French politics which could be felt throughout Europe. Monsieur Mitterand expressed confidence in an election victory and added that no one could deny the people the right to govern themselves through their chosen representative.