France The Perils of Power Sharing

After a year of coexistence, Chirac proves it can be done

When Jacques Chirac led his center-right coalition to victory in France's parliamentary elections a year ago, he and Socialist President Francois Mitterrand found themselves in unexplored political territory. Never before in the 28-year history of France's Fifth Republic had a Premier, or head of government, on one side of the political spectrum had to coexist with a President, or head of state, on the other. Now, halfway into the two-year experiment the French call cohabitation, Chirac, 54, has helped make the power-sharing arrangement work better than most political observers had thought possible. But in the process the ambitious Premier may have...

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