Foreign News: Embarrassing Embrace

The president of France's National Assembly sits high above the 627 deputies in a huge, brassbound armchair, and acts like the umpire at a political tennis match. Constitutionally, he ranks second only to the President of the Republic. Financially, his job is a choice plum: $15,000 a year, a black, six-cylinder Citroën and a chauffeur, a big apartment in the Palais Bourbon with Louis XV furniture, Sevres china, gold-plated silverware, even free gas and electricity.

Last week France, which recently had trouble choosing a President of the Republic, had to pick an Assembly president. Grand old (81) Edouard Herriot, crippled by phlebitis,...

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