With the French Presidential elections due in April and May of next year, candidates of the various parties have begun to declare their intentions about running for the top office.
GV Renault plant Boulogne with crowd outside and sign about Communist Party. (2 SHOTS)
GV French Communist leader Georges Marchais waving to crowd and walking to rostrum. (2 SHOTS)
CU Marchais speaking in French.
SV Workers holding banner.
SV Marchais speaking in French as crowd look on. (2 SHOTS)
CU Marchais talking about exploiters in French. (2 SHOTS)
CU Marchais speaking about unemployment. (2 SHOTS)
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Background: With the French Presidential elections due in April and May of next year, candidates of the various parties have begun to declare their intentions about running for the top office. Socialists received a surprise last weekend when the fast-rising star in the party, M. Michel Rocard, announced he would run if twice-beaten party leader Francois Mitterand decided not to stand. M. Mitterand in response to M. Rocard's challenge has promised a decision by the end of this week. The Communist Party chief, Mr. Georges Marchais, announced his candidature a month ago, and on Tuesday (21 October) made his first campaign speech to workers at the Renault automobile factory in the Paris suburb of Billancourt.
SYNOPSIS: The car factory on the edge of Paris is situated only minutes away from the wealthy residential area around the Bois de Boulogne. M. Marchais arrived to supportive cheers of the crowd.
He opened his speech saying that today the workers were in the first line of the struggle against capitalism, and tomorrow they would be in charge.
But M. Marchais, Communist Party leader for ten years, could face an upsurge of an old question shadowing his credibility.
French Communists proud of their party's role in the resistance during the German occupation have always paid close attention to member's war records. But M. Marchais' claim to have been forced to go to work in Germany, and to have returned to France on compassionate leave and stayed, has been challenged by documents from the town where he worked for Messerschmidt.
Speaking to the car workers, M. Marchais attacked the attitude toward the plight of the unemployed of President Giscard d'Estaing; who has yet to declare his presidential candidacy.
He told his audience the economy of the country, both industrial and agricultural was keyed to the Common Market (EEC) and to the betterment of the workers.
But in next spring's Presidential election M. Marchais is not expected to have even a remote chance of going through to a final poll. The two main contenders are expected to be President Giscard d'Estaing against a Socialist. And until or after party leader M. Mitterand makes his intentions clear, that could be the presently higher polling Socialist M. Rocard.