Only 8474 Candidates

photo: cafe le procope

Le Procope, giving its new parasols a tryout.

More Elections Already

Paris:- Monday, 20. May 2002:- Following the re-election of Jacques Chirac as Président of France a week ago a new government composed of right-wing politicians was quickly put into place and began a furious work pace, in order to convince voters to give the right control of the National Assembly in the impending legislative elections.

The Socialists, totally outmaneuvered but not totally demoralized, quickly made deals with their allies, 'Les Verts' and the Communists, to present slates of candidates with the best chances of stopping the right from gaining a majority in the coming polling.

Initial surveys of intentions to vote have shown that the two main right and left groupings have roughly equal chances to win.

With 20 days to go until the first round of the legislative elections on Sunday, 9. June, there are 8,424 candidates running for the 577 available seats in the Palais Bourbon. This is an increase in candidates of more than 30% over the last legislative elections.

New Party On the Right

For this election, the 'Union Pour la Majorité Présidentielle' - UMP - has been created. It is supposed to bring various centre-right factions under the president's personal 'umbrella.'

Whether this signifies that the RPR - the 'Rassemblement Pour la République' - the president's former party, is dead duck, is unknown to me.

Some right-wing candidates who have notphoto: cafe balto received official blessing from the UMP are going ahead with their own party names, such as 'Majorité Présidentielle.'

In the Quartier Latin, light and shadows outside the Café Balto.

François Bayrou, a recent Présidential candidate, who is head of the long-established centre- right UDF party, is completely out in the cold and is planning on having about 100 candidates contesting seats in his party's name. Some of these will be going head-to-head against the Président's candidates.

He is not being treated kindly by the loyal troops of the brand-new UMP, which is basically why he will be competing against them instead of with them.

UMP loyalists are saying he has crossed a 'yellow line' he is not supposed to cross - whatever this means - and others are saying he is maintaining his party's independence solely to be in a position to run for president again in 2007.

Other UMP stalwarts are issuing dire warnings, saying Bayrou will ensure the election of leftist or Front National candidates, which is not smoothing things over. Attempts at reconciliations seem to have failed at the time the candidate lists are to be closed, tonight.

United Left?

On the street, for every UMP handbill that gets pressed into my hands, I get five from left-wing parties. Not only this, leftist handbills are printed on A4-sized paper, while those of the UMP are half the size.

In my own voting district, the 11thphoto: lawn temporarily closed, luxembourg circumscription of Paris, former 'Greens' environment minister Yves Cochet is leading the list, with Pierre Castagnou who was recently elected as Socialist Mayor of the 14th, as companion deputy-candidate.

Their handbill also carries the logo of the Radical-Left party, which unfortunately sports a big 'R' on it. Regardless of this, they have their troops on the street in force.

The sign says this lawn is temporarily closed.

While the united left, Communists included, have made arrangements to put up unity candidates in 170 seats to block the Front National, they have their break-away leftists to contend with too.

The followers of leftist but ultra-republican Jean-Pierre Chevènement are fielding 400 candidates throughout France under a new banner called 'Pôle Républicain.'

Far Right - Far Left

Arlette Laguiler, France's favorite Trotskyist, is making the rounds for her party, Lutte Ouvrière in a 'small' way. She still defends her suggestion to not vote for Chirac in the second round of the presidential election because, 'Le Pen would have been beaten anyway.'

Her party, for which she is the official spokesperson, will field 560 candidates, which is 200 more than went into the last legislative elections.

The postman, Olivier Besancenot, and his ultra-leftist party, the Communist Revolutionary League, intend to field 440 candidates - 290 more than in 1997. Lutte Ouvrière and the Communist Revolutionary League do not intend to have any candidates in common.

A quick scan finds no news concerning Jean-Marie Le Pen and the Front National other than the poll that indicates an intention of 13% of the voters to support this party, which is about the same as in 1997.

The New 'Action' Government

This is a formidable machine that is making itself seen and heard all over the place, and it is not certain that all voters know that its duration may not survive the legislative elections.

Since there is no time to cement its stated initiatives with laws, it is largely a PR effort trying to suggest the lines a future government might take if the Président's party gets a majority in the Assembly National.

As such it is emphasizing concerns such as civil insecurity with well-covered media visits by the interim minister Nicolas Sarkozy to beleaguered police stations.

There is no point in mentioning all the promises that are being made. From the to 'get even' to 'pie in the sky' for everybody varieties.

'Good Luck' All the Same

The French national soccer team which arrived in Japan today for the World Cup matches in Southphoto: orangerie, luxembourg Korea, lost to World Cup contender Belgium by two goals to one at the Stade de France on Saturday. The going-away 'victory' party was not so gay.

The exhibition 'Art ou Nature' begins this week at the Orangerie in the Luxembourg gardens.

Japanese reporters wanted to know the reason for the loss when the players reached Japan. They declined to say it was on account of Zinedane Zidane booting in Real Madrid's winning goal over Bayer Leverkusen last Wednesday with a magic shot, to wrap up Real's 9th European Cup victory. Then Zidane became a papa for the third time on Friday, and skipped Saturday's match.

Late Spring Weather Warnings

Paris is not an exciting weather area. All the same, France-Météo issued warnings twice last week about approaching stormy weather. I noticed both warnings but not the weather.

France-Météo's 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.

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