• Short Summary

    In France, about 15,000 people converged on the Paris suburb of Sarcelle on Tuesday (28 February) to attend a Communist Party election rally.

  • Description

    SV French Communist Party leader Georges Marchais applauds with crowd and then sits down

    SV Crowd applauds

    GV crowd applauding, banners and dais

    SV Marchais behind microphones as crowd applauds

    CU & SV Marchais speaking (4 shots)

    As has been the case in previous gatherings preceding this year's official election campaign, Monsieur Marchais' calls for an instant resumption of negotiations to mend the broken Common Programme of the left were greeted with chants of approval by the crowd at Sarcelle. The communist leader re-iterated his request in a television broadcast the same evening.

    Initials BB/0200

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: In France, about 15,000 people converged on the Paris suburb of Sarcelle on Tuesday (28 February) to attend a Communist Party election rally. With the first round of general election polling taking place on the 12th of March, campaigning is reaching fever pitch.

    SYNOPSIS: Communist Party Secretary-General Georges Marchais was no exception in adding fuel to the political fires. He renewed his appeal to the two former member parties of the left-wing coalition to re-open discussions on a Common Programme. Their unified front collapsed last year after disagreements on defence and nationalisation.

    Recent opinion polls indicate that if the Communists and Socialists fail to reach an electoral agreement between the first and second rounds of the election process the present government coalition headed by President Valery Giscard d'Estaing would be easy winners. However in his speech on Tuesday Monsieur Marchais laid more emphasis on social reform than on political technicalities.

    The Communist leader accused the present government of protecting the interests of rich industrialists who wish for only one thing -- an increase of their profits. He linked this with the government austerity programme and said it was causing the poor to suffer but not the rich. Projecting changes the Communists would bring about, Monsieur Marchais said they wanted an increase in salaries for lower paid workers based on a ratio of one to five -- in other words the lowest paid would get one fifth of the money received by the most senior executives.

    Monsieur Marshais also told the rally that the Communists would push for a 40 hour working week -- later reduced to 35 hours and legislation to give all women workers the right to 18 weeks of maternity leave. According to French newspaper reports Monsieur Marchais was given a standing ovation by the crowd.

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