France: The Calm Before the Battle

Mitterrand soothes fears as he prepares for the election fight

Settling into his gilded Louis XVI-style office at the Elysee Palace last week, the Socialist seemed perfectly at ease with the august French presidential style that Charles de Gaulle once described as being above the "petty elements of the everyday political fray." In a week dominated by largely symbolic meetings and gestures, President Francois Mitterrand helped calm jittery nerves at home and abroad by projecting the image of the measured statesman rather than the Socialist firebrand his critics have portrayed him to be....

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