In France the opposition Socialist and Communist parties agreed on Monday (13 March) night to present a united front against the ruling Centre-Right Coalition parties in next Sunday's (19 march) decisive general election run-off.
CU French Prime Minister Raymond Barre speaking.
CU Gaullist leader Jacques Chirac speaking.
SV Socialist leader Francois Mitterrand walking.
SV Communist leader Georges Marchais walking in crowd.
CU Mitterrand speaking
CU Marchais speaking
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Background: In France the opposition Socialist and Communist parties agreed on Monday (13 March) night to present a united front against the ruling Centre-Right Coalition parties in next Sunday's (19 march) decisive general election run-off. The agreement follows six months of disagreement between the opposition parties, and was announced after a meeting between Communist Party Chief Georges Marchais, Socialist leader Francois Mitterrand, and robert Fabre, leader of the small left-wing Radical Party. The combined left-wing parties took a slight lead of 1.9 per cent over the Government coalition in the first round of voting of Sunday (12 March).
SYNOPSIS: After the results were announced, Prime Minister Raymond Barre spoke to newsmen in Paris. He said that he felt the Secretary General of the Socialist Party now finds himself in the position of needing the Communist Party which he had expected to dominate, and from now onwards the Communists would be dictating conditions as far as an electoral programme is concerned and the composition of any future government.
Monsieur Barre went on to say that the centre-right had a comparable degree of power in the country, and that it is quite firm in its intent and capable of forming a parliamentary majority that would assure a stable government. He also pointed out that at the present moment nothing had been either won or lost by either side.
Giving his opinion of the first round result, Gaullist Leader Jacques Chirac said that he felt the left-wing advantage was smaller than a lot of people had through it would be. but he went on to remind newsmen that he was one of the people who had predicated that the Communist Party would not get 23 per cent of the votes, but that their overall poll would be somewhere around 21 and a half per cent. In fact the communists got 20.5 per cent -- Monsieur Chirac noted that the opinion polls had put them much higher. But he added, the government coalition would need to put in a huge effort between the rounds to pull of a victory.
In their joint statement the Socialist, Communist and Radical leaders said that the three parties would govern together if they won power. They have agreed that candidates will stand down in favour of the best-placed left-wing representative in the 423 constituencies where no clear winner emerged in the first round.
Later, Francois Mitterrand explained that the question of who would stand down in the constituencies was not negotiable. The left-wing candidate would be chosen on the basis of who was best places. he added that whoever was chosen would be bound to benefit from the transfer of votes from other left-wing candidates. This, he said would show that unity is demonstrated by action rather than words.
Communist leader Georges Marchais also told newsmen that negotiation would not come in to the picture when choosing candidates for the second round. But he said that there was no need for it and that the problem facing the left was more a question of reaching political agreement on a common programme.