New elections, Same old Faces

PATRICK KOVARIK-AFP

Chirac and Jospin have so far failed to ignite voters' enthusiasm

Presidential elections should be momentous occasions when a nation confronts itself, draws a deep breath and sets the course for the coming years. Instead, France is being bored to tears by a slugging match between two veterans for what is, in theory at least, the most powerful elected job in Europe.

There is a very real danger of the country that gave the world its first modern revolution turning off politics in a big way, preferring to put its faith in one-issue, corporatist movements like farmers and doctors. Under the Fifth Republic introduced by Charles de Gaulle in 1958,...

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