France: The Politics of Risk

Before Charles de Gaulle vowed to resign "without delay" if Frenchmen reject his proposals in the April 27 national referendum, the polls showed an apathetic and uncertain electorate: 52% undecided or determined to abstain and the rest almost evenly divided. Last week the first poll taken after the general's ultimatum turned up results that would dismay a lesser man. A full 40% of the voters had not yet made up their minds, and the rest were still divided. Only 52% intended to vote oui for De Gaulle's program—and therefore for De Gaulle himself.

The government's concern was reflected in a massive...

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