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From Glory to Gloomy: That Is France
[Home Edition]
Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Los Angeles, Calif.
Author: Meisler, Stanley
Date: Sep 8, 1985
Start Page: 2
Section: Opinion; 4; Opinion Desk
Abstract (Document Summary)

The French Establishment has closed ranks over the Greenpeace affair to protect the national honor. Bernard Tricot, chief of staff of the late President Charles de Gaulle, wrote the report that cited the flimsiest of evidence to clear the Socialist government and five French intelligence agents accused by New Zealand authorities of blowing up the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior in Auckland harbor on July 10. Tricot did acknowledge that the agents had been sent to spy on Greenpeace and its planned protest against French nuclear testing in the Pacific. But someone else, according to Tricot, blew up the ship.

French politics create as much confusion and frustration as French economics. There is little doubt about the unpopularity of those running the country-President Francois Mitterrand and his Socialist Party. Many rightists and centrists insist that the Socialists wrecked the economy. Many leftists feel cheated because, in power, the Socialists have behaved much like the rightists-the Greenpeace affair is a good example.

Much depends on whether the two conservative parties-the right-wing Gaullist party of former Premier Jacques Chirac and [Valery Giscard] d'Estaing's center-right party-merge into a single party before the elections. If they do, according to the poll, they will win an overwhelming majority of 353 seats in the 555-seat National Assembly. But if they do not, Le Point said, the Gaullists could end up with 193 seats, the Socialists with 153 seats, and Giscard d'Estaing's party with 132 . The Socialists would then be in a position to strike a deal with Giscard to share control of the assembly.

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