France Center Stage

The Socialists' brightest hope

THE OPPOSITION TRIUMPHS! crowed the headlines of the antigovernment Paris daily Le Quotidien de Paris. The assessment was a shade presumptuous, perhaps, and a trifle premature, but not entirely misleading. In last week's elections for general councilors in roughly half of France's 3,848 cantons, or voting districts, not only had the conservative opposition won and the ruling Socialists lost, but the far right had won big and the far left had lost badly. In all, the established conservative coalition claimed 49% of the votes, while the maverick, ultrarightist National Front party scored an impressive 8.7%. By contrast, the combined forces of...

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