FRANCE: Fateful Election

The stakes are high, the outcome unpredictable

Speaking slowly for effect on television, pugnacious Communist Party Chief Georges Marchais last week called the nation's Minister of Justice, Alain Peyrefitte, "a liar.'' "That's a good start," responded the Minister mildly. A few days later, Premier Raymond Barre derisively branded Marchais an "Ali Baba," whose economic program was pure fantasy. Socialist Party Leader Fraçois Mitterrand reproached his supposed allies, the Communists, for insulting him. "That's a simple lie," retorted the Communist daily L'Humanité. Gaullist Leader Jacques Chirac had earlier described as an unsavory plot...

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