FRANCE: Diagnosis

When a government is defeated in France, it continues to carry on the nominal functions of administration while the President of the Republic invites leaders of the other parties to try their hand at forming a new government—usually beginning with an unlikely candidate and (always excepting the Communists) moving on up the roster to the possible. There is a Gallic gimmick in this: by making the process seem over-leisurely, the President relies on rising public impatience to compel the Assembly finally to vote some government into power. Last week, casually reviewing candidates to end France's 19th political crisis in 7½years,...

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