The results of these polls make it more and more probable that the 69-year-old [Francois Mitterrand], whose seven-year term ends in 1988, will decide to run for reelection. Only a few months ago, almost all analysts and politicians were counting Mitterrand out.
The loss of Socialist control of Parliament in March accentuated the mood. The French clearly like the idea of "cohabitation"-the word they use to describe the new political arrangement of a president from one party and a premier from another. So far, Mitterrand, under this arrangement, seems less partisan and combative than [Jacques Chirac] and has thus benefited from it far more in the polls.
Chirac and the conservatives have had a much more difficult time adjusting to the new mood than Mitterrand and the Socialists. The most important problem is ironic: The right wing as a whole-Chirac's conservative coalition plus the extreme right-took more than 50% of the vote in the parliamentary elections.