...Continued from page 1

Now warming up in the right corner of the ring we have the formidable Philippe Séguin forphoto: agri carnival the RPR. This is both Jean Tiberi's and the president's political party; the same one that has self-imploded since the election of Jacques Chirac.

The RPR has had such bad times that Philippe Séguin nearly gave back his party card. In a nutshell, most centre-right conservatives don't know who they are anymore. The hefty Philippe Séguin, however, does.

A little bit of carnival for the food fair in Paris.

Over in the left corner of the ring, former socialist culture-czar and current mayor of Blois, natty Jack Lang, has just climbed through the ropes to begin warming up - only to find the Paris' city council's socialist leader, Bernard Delanoë already in place.

This leaves the diverse group of other candidates in the ring looking like they've showed up for the wrong weight division, the wrong bout, maybe even the wrong card.

This must be very distressing for them. These sincere people have been laboring over Paris' management problems on a day-by-day basis for a long time. They have their roots in Paris; many of them are also mayors of Paris' arrondissements.

There is a move afoot in the RPR camp to organize some sort of 'primary' election, so that a single candidate can be democratically selected.

Apparently this will be no easy matter, as there are only about 8000 card-carrying RPR party members in Paris and 2000 of these are registered in Jean Tiberi's 5th arrondissement.

Meanwhile, the Socialists are having their maneuvers too, but with the advantage of having a fairly cohesive single-party machine in the city. At the moment, Jack Lang doesn't care for Bernard Delanoë's proposals of debates before party members, and Bernard Delanoë doesn't care for Jack Lang's proposals.

In the European elections in June 1999, the Paris socialists did well in the city against a disarrayed gaggle of right-wing parties.

The Greens' Card

Given the local issues that may concern Paris voters more than anybody's presidential ambitions, the environmental party Les Verts will likely play a pure Paris card - and may throw whatever weight they gain to the socialist corner as they have done on a national level.

If the race is close, the greens could force more greenness on Paris. Jack Lang will probably go along with anything that looks popular. A 'green' Paris could be popular worldwide.photo: agri, wagon of plenty

Philippe Séguin in contrast, is a rare RPR idealist. He commands respect, he has weight and experience. But the RPR itself is fragile, and only rules in Paris now with the help of other parties.

France has 'wagons of plenty' instead of modest-sized horns. Photo: Allan Pangborn©2000

Philippe Séguin will in the Paris municipal race to 'stop the socialists' from taking over the Hôtel de Ville. Although he would make a fine mayor, 'stopping socialism' is probably not in itself a winning campaign slogan.

For Paris' new budget, opposition spokesmen on the Paris city council have noted that the amount for city 'public relations' has been boosted by more than 20 percent. There's an election coming up.

Café Metropole Club's 21th Session

The 21th weekly meeting of the 'Café Metropole Club' came off with more than its usual panache last Thursday. You can read all about it on last week's 'Club 'Report'' page.

Starting last week, the Thursday meeting 'report' will be re-run in this week's 'Club News' feature, so you won't have to go back to read about it.

However, this week's 'Club News' will not be an exact copy of last week's 'update' version. At the meetings, club members give 'Ed' tips and other news. Often these can only be included later, for Monday's regular edition.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 4.10 - 8. March1999 - The Café Metropole column was headlined: - 'Coming Soon: Another Birthday!' 'Au Bistro' had 'French Tabloid.' This issue had one feature, entitled 'Rare Chinese Ceramics.' This issue's 'Paris' Scene' hadphoto: s'adresser pour les sacrements 'Rare Chinese Ceramics.' There were four 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'Astronomist, Not Astrologist!'

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago:

Issue 3.10 - 9. March 1998 - The Café Metropole column was headlined 'Frankfurt Sends Its 'Bong' By Radio.' Something really silly.. The 'Au Bistro' column was titled 'Fake Cow Annoys Farmers.' This issue had two features, entitled 'Here Comes, There Goes, the Salon de l'Agriculture' and 'Rain and Shopping and More Rain on Rivoli.' There were four 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'Take Your Picture?'

The Metropole Paris Countdown to 31. December 2000:

Even though readers are specifically not asking for any countdown to the probable beginning of the next century, to the next millennium, whatever it is, this tedious countdown continues brainlessly with the 10th issue of 2000 because once something silly like this is started the longer it goes on the more idiotic it gets unless somebody complains but no one has yet.

This new countdown will last only 366 days, minus the 51 days already gone. The official reason for doing this is to give the Tour Eiffel a new chance to 'get it right' - and for a leap year it ought to - because so many count-down fans missed shouting 'Zéro' on Friday, 31. December 1999. The 'unofficial' reason will be revealed in due time.

There are about 301 days left to go until the 3rd Millennium.
signature, regards, ric

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