Premier Jacques Chirac, under intense political pressure in a worsening crisis, capitulated Monday to protesting students and withdrew the university reform bill that had set off three weeks of strikes, demonstrations and riots.
The withdrawal of the university bill was welcomed by President Francois Mitterrand. Presidential aides told reporters that Mitterrand, a Socialist, had urged Chirac, a conservative, to withdraw the bill as long ago as last Wednesday, on the eve of the massive student demonstration that led to three days of violence. Mitterrand, according to the aides, repeated his demand at a tense meeting Saturday after the death of the student, Malik Oussekine.
Chirac and his most rightist aides did not want him, on principle, to seem to give in to pressure. But this position, especially after the death of Oussekine, began to appear foolhardy, and members of his Cabinet, publicly in one case, urged him to withdraw the bill.