France Mitterrand's Short Coattails

A weary electorate sends the Socialists a message

President Francois Mitterrand had tried at first to remain above the parliamentary election battle. The 71-year-old Socialist, after all, had won re-election handily only five weeks earlier largely by promising to bring a measure of consensus to a confrontational style of politics. Last week, though, as a desultory legislative campaign suddenly turned into the traditionally bitter left-right duel, Mitterrand decided it was time to intervene on behalf of the embattled left. "I ask Frenchwomen and Frenchmen to confirm the vote they delivered in the second round of the presidential election last May 8," he declared at his weekly Cabinet meeting. "To...

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