France Politics Part II

France Politics 2

For the ministry a further cause of concern arose with the protest, even violent, of farmers – especially Bretons – worried about the low profitability of some agricultural products and very dissatisfied with the Community policy in the agricultural field (January-February 1984). The result of the elections for the European Parliament of 17 June 1984 (in which only 56.7% of those entitled to participate) proved particularly severe for the government parties. The PSF obtained, in fact, 20.8% of the votes (compared to 23.5% in the 1979 elections) and the PCF even halved its strength, reaching only 11.2% (compared to the previous 20.5%); practically unchanged was the strength of the UDF and the RPR (who presented themselves united for the occasion, further proof of the rapprochement process between the two teams), which together obtained 43% compared to the previous 43.9%; and so nevertheless they showed a clear recovery compared to the last national political elections. Finally, the success of the far-right party, the National Front, was resounding, with 11.8% of the votes, if one thinks that in 1979 this formation had obtained the irrelevant result of 1.03% of the votes. It is not difficult to hypothesize that the crisis of communist politics favored a direct passage of votes from the PCF to the extreme right, according to an oscillation that the successes (or failures) of the two teams confirmed also in the following years. The difficulty of government policy and, correspondingly, a renewed momentum of mobilization on the part of his opponents was confirmed by the real test of strength that Giscardians and neo-Galilists managed to impose on the problem of financing for private schools, which the Mauroy ministry wanted to tackle in terms of the secularist tradition. The procession of over a million people that crossed Paris on June 17, 1984 (amplifying a similar success captured by the same forces on the same issue already in the previous March) seemed to give a visual representation of the echo and the sympathies aroused by the battle of the oppositions, the which managed to impose the withdrawal of the provision.

According to SOFTWARELEVERAGE, Prime Minister Mauroy resigned and Mitterrand appointed a new socialist-led government, headed by L. Fabius, Minister of Industry in the previous team (July 24, 1984); However, the PCF was not part of the government and thus formalized its dissent towards the line of economic and social policy followed by the last Mauroy government in definitive political terms. Thus the Fabius government practically took the form of a single-party member of the PSF (with only a left-wing radical minister and a representative of the PSU present in the government structure). The entire burden of the government therefore fell on the socialists, caught between the center-right opposition and the ‘case by case’ policy of support declared by the communists in September. behind which they masked a substantial opposition to Mitterrand’s party and which sanctioned the end of the union of the left. Further signs of a situation that was becoming increasingly difficult for the Socialist Party were the rejection, by the Senate, of the constitutional reform project on the extension of the use of the referendum, wanted by Mitterrand himself, and the results of the regional elections in Corsica., at whose Regional Assembly a neo-Gaullist was elected as president (August 1984), while the far right advanced and the independence movement, gathered around the Corsican National Liberation Front (in vain dissolved by the government in January 1983), did not give up terrorist activity that had been affecting the region for several years now.

In foreign policy a particular role was played by the President of the Republic Mitterrand who assumed, maintaining in this a traditional line of French diplomacy, a polemical attitude towards the United States, but now according to a “ Third World ” inflection which found expression in the Conference North-South of Concùn in Mexico (October 1981).

The presence of France developed along a line of continuity in the countries of Saharan Africa, in an attempt to extinguish Libyan hopes for a definitive destabilization of Chad, whose legal government of H. Habré was constantly supported by Paris against the rebel formations. actively supported by Libya. It is in this framework of firmness, but also of patient search for negotiating spaces, that Mitterrand reached a meeting with the leader Libyan Gaddafi (Crete, September 1984), which sanctioned an agreement for the mutual withdrawal of military contingents. The French initiative in the Middle East proved to be less traditional and more innovative. Mitterrand himself made an official visit to Israel in March 1982, the first French head of state, while on two occasions – in August and then in September of that same year, and until March 1984 – French military contingents participated, alongside Americans, British and Italians, to the intervention of the multinational peacekeeping force in Lebanon in order to stabilize the internal situation of that country in view of a political solution to the long-standing civil war that troubled it. In the Pacific area, Mitterrand’s trip to New Caledonia (January 1985).

France Politics 2