France: The Permanent Opposition

France's first direct presidential election in the 20th century was over, and Charles de Gaulle, with 55% of the vote, had won. Or had he? Le grand Charles had sought overwhelming confirmation of his policies; instead, he had unwittingly created his first permanent and meaningful opposition.

The opposition's new leaders had no intention of losing the spotlight De Gaulle had given them. "We are faced with a dying regime," declared Socialist Loser Francois Mitterrand. "When we see how shaky Gaullism is with De Gaulle, what will it be without De Gaulle?" He mapped a campaign to organize a grass-roots party...