France: The Gaullists v. Everybody

Like a well-written detective novel, France's electoral system has built-in suspense. Instead of settling the contest after one election, the French heighten the drama and enchance the element of surprise by holding a runoff election one week later among the candidates who polled 5% or more of the total vote. Last weekend, in the first round, France's 28.5 million voters cast their ballots for 2,267 candidates from seven major political groupings. This weekend the survivors enter the final round that will decide the winners of France's 487 seats in the National Assembly.

Simple Choice. Coming immediately in the wake of the...

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