France: New Rules of the Game

New Rules of the Game

Its name, La Proportionnelle, may sound musical, but the controversial new electoral plan based on proportional representation, proposed last week by President Francois Mitterrand's government, has provoked feelings that are anything but harmonious. "Shameful," declared Jacques Chirac, the mayor of Paris and leader of the right-leaning neo-Gaullists. A volley from the left came only 13 hours after the announcement of the plan, when the highly popular Minister of Agriculture, Michel Rocard, a Socialist and longtime Mitterrand rival, resigned in protest.

The legislation, which is expected to be passed by the Socialist-dominated National Assembly, will replace the 27-year-old winner-take-all system in election...

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