The victory of the Conservatives was not confirmed until 7 a.m. today when the government announced that with four seats still undecided, the Conservative coalition had won 289 seats, the bare minimum needed for a majority. Since the conservatives failed in their goal of a resounding majority, the results will give [Francois Mitterrand] a good deal of leeway in making his choice of a premier.
Before the election, Raymond Barre, a former conservative premier ranked by polls as the most popular politician in France, had insisted that Mitterrand should resign if faced with a conservative majority and that, if he did not, the conservatives should try to force the resignation by refusing to accept the post of premier.
PHOTO: Curtain raiser-French Premier [Laurent Fabius], left, and President Francois Mitterrand vote in National Assembly elections. Opposition conservatives made a strong showing, setting the stage for a possibly long-running conflict with Mitterrand, a Socialist. / Reuters Associated Press