With less than a week left before the March 6 elections, candidates of the Centre-Right opposition in France have scaled down their hopes of a major victory against the ruling Socialist-Communist alliance.
GV Ronsieur Paul Laurent (PCF) speaking at rally. (SOT)
Paul Quiles (S) clapping.
SCU Socialist Party leader, Lionel Jospin, (S) speaking. (SOT)
GV Crowd applauds and chants; Giscard, Giscard...(2 SHOTS)
SV/GV Former president Valery Giscard d'Estaing taking his seat on platforms. (2 SHOTS)
CU/GV Giscard speaking. (SOT) (2 SHOTS)
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Background: With less than a week left before the March 6 elections, candidates of the Centre-Right opposition in France have scaled down their hopes of a major victory against the ruling Socialist-Communist alliance. Earlier, in a campaign where virtually every major French politician is a candidate for local office, Paris Mayor Jacques Chirac had predicted the Right would capture up to 100 main cities. But with opinion polls showing the Left regaining ground, other opposition leaders are now saying the loss of 30 towns by the Left would be a sufficient rebuff to President Francois Mitterrand's 20-month-old government. At a rally held in Paris on February 25, Socialist candidate Paul Quiles, and Communist representative, Paul Laurent, denounced Monsieur Chirac's record as Mayor of the capital, and urged voters to back the Left alliance. Socialist Party leader Lionel Jospin, who attended the meeting, warned voters against a potential victory for the opposition which, he said, would undermine social reforms carried out under the present government. However, disappointing trade and retail price figures released by the government two days later, boosted the arguments put forward by former president Giscard d'Estaing on the same day. Speaking in Paris, Giscard d'Estaing told a rally of young supporters that President Monsieur Mitterrand's policies were leading France into deeper recession at a time when the United States was poised for economic recovery.