France is preparing itself for the second round in its municipal elections which will take place next Sunday (20 March).
France is preparing itself for the second round in its municipal elections which will take place next Sunday (20 March). President Valery Giscard d'Estaing suffered a double blow in the first poll with strong gains by the opposition alliance of Communists and Socialists and the defeat of his candidate for the Paris mayorship, to former Prime Minister, Jacques Chirac.
SYNOPSIS: The alliance of Communists and Socialists - known as the Union of the Left -- made impressive gains in more than 30 provincial cities. The Union is being led by Francois Mitterrand who stood against Monsieur Giscard d'Estaing in the 1974 presidential election. M. Mitterrand and his colleagues are convinced that the left-wing alliance can consolidate their gains and win next year's general election. Further gains in next Sunday's polling would reinforce their view.
But Gaullist leader, Jacques Chirac, says his success in the first round or voting shows that the left-wing attack could be held off if presented with a strong rightwing majority. M. Chirac now looks set to become Mayor of Paris after defeating the government candidate. M. Michel d'Ornano in 11 of the capital's 18 districts. M. d'Ornano is a me bar of President Giscard d'Estaing's Independent Republican Party which relies on the Gaullists for its government majority. The President may be saved from the left-wing alliance in Sunday's voting by the Gaullists. But the success of former Prime Minister Chirac could prove equally dangerous for the President when it comes to next year's general election.