INTRODUCTION: French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing and Socialist leader Francois Mitterrand were the two leaders in the first in the first round of the French Presidential elections on Sunday (26 April).
SV & CU Posters. (5 SHOTS)
SV People voting in booths. (5 SHOTS)
SV President Giscard d'Estaing voting and shaking hands with officials.
SV Chirac voting.
SV Marchais voting.
CU Mitterrand speaking.
CU Giscard d'Estaing speaking.
GV French flag flying on building used as polling booth, police on guard. (2 SHOTS)
CU Chirac speaking.
PART EUROVISION TELERECORDING
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Background: INTRODUCTION: French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing and Socialist leader Francois Mitterrand were the two leaders in the first in the first round of the French Presidential elections on Sunday (26 April). President Giscard d'Estaing polled some 28 percent of the votes narrowly beating Mitterrand by less than two percent. The second round will be held in two weeks time on May the 10th. Both Giscard d'Estaing and Francois Mitterrand are now busy rounding up support from the voters of the other major candidates - Neo-Gaullist Jacques Chirac and Communist leader George Marchais who polled 18 and 15 percent respectively.
The entreaties, promises and warnings of the ten candidates still rang in the voters' ears as they went to the polls on Sunday (26 April).
The turnout of over 81 percent meant that nearly 29.2 million votes were cast. The main confrontation was between the Left and the Right with Paris Mayor Chirac offering a third course which he described as "between resignation and risk".
President Giscard d'Estaing's campaign was based on his record. He insisted that France had weathered the international economic crisis better than its European neighbours and was the world's third military power.
Jacques Chirac did not do as well as expected. He served as the President's first Prime Minister from 1974 to 1976 before breaking with him and rallying former supporters of the late General Charles De Gaulle in a new party.
As for Marchais' party, the Communist vote dropped nationwide by some five percent compared with parliamentary elections three years ago. And their share of vote in the so-called "red belt" around the capital, plummeted by about nine percent.
After the results were announced, Mitterrand thanked his supporters but said the battle continued. He said the over seven million votes cast for a socialist President were important for both France and the Republic.
But the gain a majority in the next round, he will need the support of the Communists. However, Mr. Marchais has been demanding Communist Ministers in any Mitterrand government in return for his support.
President Giscard d'Estaing has already won a pledge of personal support from the Mr. Jacques Chirac, his main right-wing opponent in Sunday's round, but whether Chirac's five million voters will follow suit remains to be seen.
The second round voting on May the 10th will be a repeat of the 1974 election when Giscard d'Estaing beat Mitterrand by less than half a million votes. Local observers are predicting a close round this time too, and much could depend on the distribution of the over two million votes cast for independents in the first round. So the next two weeks will witness an intensive round of campaigning from both the left and the right.