The Secretary General of the French Communist Party, Mr. Georges Marchais, has criticised his party's?
GV Crowd at Communist Party rally with banners and photo of Georges Marchais (4 shots)
GV Platform ready for speakers
SV Georges Marchais arrives and takes the platform (2 shots)
SV Georges Marchais clapping
SCU Supporter with badge
SCU Georges Marchais behind microphones and crowd (2 shots)
SCU Georges Marchais speaking and crowd (2 shots)
SCU George Marchais speaking
The Socialists and Communists have an electoral pact under which the best-placed left-wing candidate in each constituency is to be given a clear run in the decisive second ballot. Mr. Marchais showed no sign in his speech that he was ready to instruct Communist candidates to stand down after the first round of voting to help his partners.
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Background: The Secretary General of the French Communist Party, Mr. Georges Marchais, has criticised his party's election allies, the Socialists, accusing them of being ready to compromise with big business and disappoint millions of workers.
SYNOPSIS: Mr. Marchais was speaking at a large rally at Porte de Versailles in Paris on Thursday evening (16 February) to a crowd estimated, by party officials, at over 70,000. Parliamentary elections take place in France on March the 12th and 19th and as the election campaigning gets underway, party leaders have already been getting out and about and meeting the public.
The elections have been described as the most crucial in France since the Fifth Republic was established in 1958. The opinion polls suggest the Communist-Socialist alliance could be successful and form the next French Government. The major differences between the Communists and Socialists is over the extent of nationalisation of industry.
It was this difference that Mr. Marchais concentrated on in his speech. He cited the records of socialist governments in Great Britain, West Germany and Portugal to support his argument that French workers could not rely on the socialists alone to protect their interests, if the left wins in the election. He said that all these governments had compromised and let big business be all-powerful.
Mr. Marchais said that only by backing the Communists on the first ballot on March 12 could voters force the Socialist leader Mr. Francois Mitterrand to accept truly radical reforms capable of transforming French society. The presence of Communist ministers in a left-wing government would guarantee leaders would not compromise with the capitalist system, he said. Mr. Mitterrand has refused to negotiate with the Communists on government plans or distribution of ministries until the final ballot is completed on March 19. Mr. Marchais repeated appeals to the Socialists to resume negotiations.