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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 5, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta Wctfntidnv. Aort 3, T975 THE LE7HBR1DGE HERALD 32 French president Pompidou assured of victory Fly BOIllS KIDEl- London Observer Service PARIS Thanks to the divi- sions ol France's Led, ['resi- dent Georges 1'onipiclou appears of easy success in his I101 of referendum on'llie enlarnumcnt Republic since. 191S- If Hie urn- led l.oft hail recommended ab- stention on April, the Presi- dent would have run the seri- ous risk of obtaining the sup- P-conumie les than linlf of Endorsed by a Ilic nority o( Ihe French nation, his piostuje and Gautlisl electoral rcKiKxts would liave suffered grievous blow. [Icpcndcd on Hie altitude or Ihc Kur o p D a n Community April 23. The president who is using Hie referendum primarily to bolsler his own prestige and lo slrcng- _........ then the Gaullisl parly in :id-1 of the l-'rencli Communists. Af- vnncc ol next year's general Jler several days of hesitation elections, was laced by tlw un- llicy linaly rejected n united comferlable prospect or a mass boycott. Ilis referendum inleu- lions could easily have been thwarted if Hie left-wing par- lies had united in urging ab- slenlion. froiil with Ihc Socialists and de- cided ID vote "No" in Ihc ref- erendum. The Gaullists arc 10- day openly jubilant about the Communist decision. Now they ve an actual opponent against This was the course re-corn- 1 whom they can mobilize the mended by Ihe Socialist parly, now fight tug for a new Ic.isc of life under Francois Miderand. elected as parly Trader last year. Having announced I ii c i r commitment to Europe and support for Britain's entry to the Common Market in iheir party program only a few weeks earlier, the Socialists found themselves in an intensely cm- barrasing situation when Pom- pidou sprang the surprise of the referendum in his last Press conference. They could not urge their sup- porters to vote "no" without betraying the very principles of their new party platform. By an overwhelming majority, a special party convcnlion decid- ed on abstention. This was the only conceivable way out for the Socialists but at Ihe samfi time abslenfion constituted an an effective attempt to torpedo Pompidou's play for strengthen- ing his regime. An average of about 23 per cent of France's voters have abstained in Ihe four earlier referenda held under the Fifth electorate. From the verv start public roaciion had been sceptical aljout Pompidou's decision to make Britain's entry into the Common Market an issue lor a national referendum. With (ho majority of Ihe country known to favour Ihe admission of Bri- tain and tiic other three candi- date countries (Denmark, Ire- land and Norway) the whole concept of this referendum seemed artificial and far too ob- viously designed to produce domestic; political advantages for Pompidou and the Gaullisls. They faced the real danger of public apathy on voting day. The Communists saved Pompi- dou in very much the same style as in 1969 when their ab- stention in the second round of the Presidential election se- cured his final victory over his centre opponent Alain Poher, By exploiting anti Communist sentiments, the government can now count on a respectable turnout April 23. They split between the Com- munists and the Socialists on the referendum issue wider; dramatically the cleavage on [he French Ixrft just as the luo main opposition parties arc liiiU to agree on a joint program for the general clcc- [ions. No single reason ex- plains satisfactorily the Com- munists' decision. Above all, Georges Marchais. the acling party leader, ap- pears to have been afraid that abstention orders would have entuated wlial the Ccimmu- nisls call the "demobilization" of the working class and en- courage growing electoral apa- Ihv. J3v ing an antt-I'omni- do'i! campaign, he hopes to Rive new impetus to flawing party action and possibly win the sup- port of left wingers who dis- agree with the abstention deci- sion of Ihc SorialisLs and most other However it would .seem some- Ihiiif; of a miracle if the Com-1 munists managed to obtain Ibis time- the 21.5 per cent polled by their candidale Jacques' liuclos in the first round of Ihe 19G9 Presidential election. The Communists' decision also reflects their basic antag- onism towards thn vSocialisfs. Determined to present them- selves as the country's main op- position force, they did nol want to to be following the Socialists lead in agreeing lo abstention. What matters to lh? Communists is recognition that they are Ihe ser.-ior part-ners in a left-wing alliance. They suspect MLterrand as a potential rival who would assert .Socialist leadership if the Left ever reaches power in France. They spsak with nostalgia of the days when the Socialist.1: were led by Alain Savory, a far less dynamic polili c i a n uho proved more pliable lo Com- munist demands. The clash over UK- referendum elrarly slsov. s Ihe- Communists tw longer view a [i.iH .scale alliance the Socialists as one of Uicir priority target'; loduy. I'inally. it was also their Ira- ditional hoslihty lo tlic entire idea of a united western Eur- ope which caused (hem to re- ject abstention. Soviet patly lender ni a v row be willing lo accepl tlin reality of Ihc Common .Market but France's Communists rp- mnin adamantly opposed lo In-1 Oiistavp A n a r t said Ii in Western Kuronc. rlraw into gnn "I'oiiipiricu's Mar- dials lold Ills parly's central cr.mmiuce. "is Ihe ICuropc of bij; business oflen directed by Americans. It gives reactionary forces prentcr hold over the masses, it means Ihc limila- lion of France's sovereignty and of her aliilily lo chose her own economic and social policies." Rt'llaiil's culry into ttie Com- >ulcl move. Political ob.server.s r.rc' mi; nil- convinced that if lie scores a American imjiL-i-ial-; trjunipliant success, lie will be isls. lirilain, lin v.ould lo reap Ihc maximum act ns Ihc 'Trojan hnrsr" of benefit by dissolving I'.ii- busines TUDIIDJKIILL'S liamenl and holding new elec- insidi: (lie Common Murla'l. lions ill June. If the result turns These Communist arguments out to be less satisfactory, lie is'. arc likely to make an impact likely to content himself with a Government reshuffle without immcdiale elections. By replacing Premier .lac- Dclmas, beyond the ranks of failhfnl [jarty members. Pompidou cnn be mUim of Ilis victory. The scale hi' mon Market, pohlburo member'success will determine his next-imnfic has hccomo badly tar- nislicd by fiis lack of candour ahinil his affairs, Ihu prcsl- rlcnl try to tiew Mgour lo IMS in prqiara- lion ck'i'Mons next year. But mil only (luuie.s'.ic prcocupa- lions air nt slake. 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