...Continued from page 1

'Les Verts' Noël Mamère got respectably above the five percent hurdle, and in face of the events, Mamère said on TV that he would be voting for Chirac in the second round. He also called for massive demonstrations on Sunday, 1. May - 'worker's day' in Europe.

While some of the ultra-leftist parties are not overtly suggesting that their followers place their votes with Chirac in the second round, the priority is clearly to put a stop to Le Pen and his extremist National Front party.

On the moderate right's side, there seems to be little question of where the votes will go. The leader of the UDF party, François Bayrou, had a campaign that started from disaster, to finally arrive at a respectable score of nearly seven percent.

Throughout the campaign mention was often made of the 'third man.' At various times thisphoto: sign, bureau de vote 'alternative-candidate' was ex-socialist supporter, Jean-Pierre Chevènement, or the liberal-right Alain Madelin, but Bayrou finally outdistanced them, mainly by not quitting to campaign energetically.

Nearly all right-wing personalities who spoke on TV said there was a need for 'rassemblement.' Coincidently, this word - which means 'gathering' or 'assemblage' - forms part of the name of Chirac's party - the RPR, or 'Rassemblement Pour le République.'

For a good many years, this is exactly what the moderate right has not been doing - which opened the opportunity for a coalition of leftists and Socialists to form the government for the past five years.

For the moderate-right, in face of Le Pen, the coming choice is Chirac, or abstention. From both sides of right and left, there are going to be some curious elements 'rallying around Chirac.'

Jospin Decides To Resign

At 22:20, Lionel Jospin accepted personal responsibility for his defeat and announced his intention to retire from politics after the second round of the presidential elections.

This shocked those gathered at Socialist Party headquarters, who had earlier chanted 'No Pasaran!' when the first images of Le Pen appeared on giant TV screens.

At Communist Party headquarters there was no victory party and there were practically none there to celebrate it. Party leader Robert Hue even had the embarrassment of being out-voted by Jean-Marie Le Pen in his own polling district of Montigny-les-Cormeilles.

Nationally, the 3.41 percent of the votes gathered by the Communist leader were the lowest ever accorded to the party. For the first time since 1969, there will be no leftist candidate running for the office of Président of France.

Anti-Le Pen Demos

At midnight, in Paris and around France, anti-National Front demonstrations took place, with 10,000 gathering in Paris at République and Bastille, to chant, "'F' comme Fascist, 'N' comme Nazi." According to radio-news this afternoon and TV-news tonight, these are continuing throughout France.

Late last night on France-2 TV, the actor Pierre Arditti, speaking from the Bastille, said, "France doesn't deserve this. We begin the 'resistance.'." Photos from the anti-Le Pen demo at Bastille last night were labeled by the British trash-press today as 'riots.'

Paris Votes

Although the left led by Bertrand Delanoë captured Paris in the municipal elections last year, yesterday's vote saw Jacques Chirac outdistance Lionel Jospin as he did seven years ago, although both received fewer votes.

Le Pen, with about 9.35 percent of the total, was unchanged from the last presidential elections, and only got about half of his national average. Because of Easter school vacations, abstentions in the city were higher than the national average.

National Assembly Elections

Until yesterday it was assumed that the presidential election would be a contest between Jacques Chirac and Lionel Jospin. We now know this will not be the case.

With a coalition of convenience to prevent the election of Le Pen, Jacques Chirac is likely to bephoto: left bank quay, sunday reelected. This election will be followed by the election of deputies to the National Assembly, and the campaign for this started this morning.

During Mr. Chirac's last tenure as president - a seven-year term, now shortened to a five year term - his first government was formed by a rightist coalition but it imploded after two years, which required Mr. Chirac to ask Mr. Jospin to form a government.

Finally, Sunday was a day for just walking around.

This was done with a majority of Socialists, in a coalition with the Communist Party and the 'Greens.' It wasn't perfect, but it worked better than the rightist coalition that preceded it.

Having a president of one party and a prime minister of another is called 'co-habitation' in France, and it is considered to be an unnatural political situation.

But for the moment, all attention is fixed on assuring that Jacques Chirac is reelected Président of France on Sunday, 5. May 2002.

Then the left will get a chance for a bit of revenge. The question here is, who will the Socialists pick to be their leading candidate? As of tonight, the question remains unanswered.

Spring Weather Alerts

France, a pleasant and green place, does have weather that might be dangerous to your health - or on a lesser scale, cause you some serious discomfort if you happen to be in a remote place.

Weather warnings are provided by a service from our friends at France-Météo. You are supposed to use this service before you get into ugly situations because using it afterwards will not help you at all.

Paris is not an exciting weather area. The alert service is mainly for northern, central, mountainous, eastern, western Atlantic coast, all types of southern and offshore areas of France - that occasionally or regularly have more extreme weather than the Ile-de-France region.

If you are curious or want to know more about France's so-called spring weather, give the Météo-France Web site a hit, for its short-range forecasts. Check out the warning-prone 'Vigilance-Météo' area on the opening page.

Go to page : 1 - 2
In Metropole Paris
Latest Issue
2008 Issues
2007 | 2006 | 2005
2004 | 2003 | 2002
2001 | 2000 | 1999
1998 | 1997 | 1996
In Metropole Paris
About Metropole
About the Café Club
Links | Search Site
The Lodging Page
Paris Museums List
Metropole's 1996 Tours
Metropole's 2003 Tours
Support Metropole
Metropole's Books
Shop with Metropole
Metropole's Wine
metropole paris goodblogweek button
Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini