...Continued from page 1

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.

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