INTRODUCTION: With less than a week to go before the final round of the French election, President Valery Giscard d'Estaing has staged the biggest rally of his campaign.
GV Balloon over tents
SV & CU Giscard poster and drum majorettes (2 shots)
GV INTERIOR Crowd with banners waiting for Giscard (2 shots)
CU Giscard shakes hands with people on way to stage (2 shots)
CU Giscard speaking and crowd applauds (2 shots)
CU Giscard speaks, wife listens and crowd applauds (3 shots)
SV Giscard clasps his arms aloft and waves with wife from stage
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: With less than a week to go before the final round of the French election, President Valery Giscard d'Estaing has staged the biggest rally of his campaign. Thousands of Giscard supporters turned up on Sunday (3 May) at a discussed cattle market in Paris for a day of music, sport and political speechmaking.
The entertainment included hot-air balloons, a world champion trampolinist, and drum majorettes.
For President Giscard, the rally represented one of his final attempts to swing the voters in his favour -- and against his main rival, Socialist Francois Mitterrand. As the President was preparing to speak, Monsieur Mitterrand was holding a deliberately low-key discussion of economic problems with 200 left-wing intellectuals in the French Senate.
In his speech, President Giscard urged his supporters to 'fight for your beliefs to avoid the decline of France'. He maintained that those who voted for Mitterrand would 'vote for the loss of their freedom'.
In the first round of polling for the Presidential election, Monsieur Giscard took 29 percent of the votes to Monsieur Mitterrand's twenty-five.
At the rally, President Giscard renewed his challenge to Monsieur Mitterrand for a face-to-face debate on television. And he appeared to meet most of Mitterrand's conditions for the debate when he said that his opponent could be accompanied by any 'witness' he chose. Mitterrand has demanded the presence of journalists at the broadcast.
Most of the President's speech was devoted to warnings of the consequences of a Socialist victory. He spoke of the 'economic and social waste' and 'political disorder' that would follow. Recalling his own 'seven years of stability', he said there had been 'no dissolution and no political crisis -- both of which would occur in the very first month of a Mitterrand presidency'.
In reply Monsieur Mitterrand claimed that President Giscard was 'losing control'.