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French Debate the Power of a President
[Home Edition]
Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Los Angeles, Calif.
Author: Meisler, Stanley
Date: Feb 2, 1986
Start Page: 2
Section: Opinion; 5; Opinion Desk
Abstract (Document Summary)

At the same time, [Raymond Barre] insists that it would be impossible for a Socialist president and a conservative premier to work together under the constitution. For these reasons, Barre says, [Francois Mitterrand] should resign if his party is defeated in March.

Premier Laurent Fabius, in a recent television interview, seemed to agree somewhat with Barre's analysis, though not, of course, with Barre's solution. If the Socialist Party of Mitterrand and Fabius lost control of the National Assembly, Fabius said, "it would be a mess . . . . Institutionally, it would be extraordinarily difficult." To avoid the mess, Fabius urged the French to vote Socialist.

Mitterrand himself has been enigmatic about the future. Much depends, of course, on whom he selects as premier in March. He has limits. He must try to satisfy the National Assembly since it has the power to reject his choice with a vote of censure. But Mitterrand still has some leeway. Asked by a reporter recently if he would follow traditional parliamentary practice and select the leader of the party with the most seats in the National Assembly, Mitterrand replied: "I will follow the constitution and pick who I want. Of course, it might be the same person."

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