France Politics Part IV

France Politics 4

The results of the first round (April 1988) awarded Mitterrand 34.1% of the valid votes, Chirac 19.9%, Barre 16.5% and Le Pen even 14.3%, that is more than double. of the votes obtained by the Communist candidate A. Lajoinie, to which 6.7% went. While the Communists announced that they would support the outgoing president in the second round, the situation was becoming very embarrassing for Chirac, the best-placed center-right candidate still in contention. He could not ask for the explicit support of the xenophobic extreme right, on pain of a certain haemorrhage of moderate votes, the contribution of which was essential to him to have any prospect of success against his opponent Mitterrand. Le Pen, moreover, let his supporters free, as he himself expressed himself with an ambiguous declaration, to choose in the second round between “the bad and the worst”. Therefore, in the second round, in May, what would have been difficult to foresee only a year before: the re-election of Mitterrand to the presidency of the Republic with 54% of the valid votes, against 45.9% for Chirac; in essence, with a double margin of the detachment that, in the elections of 1981, had seen him prevail over Giscard d’Estaing. Chirac’s resignation from the post of prime minister was immediate. The appointment in his place of the socialist M. Rocard, at the head of a group of socialists and radicals on the left (May 12), was only the necessary step to verify an evident situation of ungovernability for the National Assembly and to bring the country once again to the inevitable early political elections in June. These, contrary to forecasts, did not see a great socialist success, testifying, we could say, to the shrewd strategy with which Mitterrand had managed to impose himself on his opponents. The PSF obtained 37.5% of the votes, the center-right 40.5%, while the weak Communist recovery, with 11.3%, corresponded to the sharp downsizing of the National Front with its 9.6% of the votes. suffrages. At this point Mitterrand reconfirmed the post to Rocard (June 28, 1988), who however, with significant novelty, while constituting a cabinet in which the main ministries were in the hands of socialist exponents, distributed some positions to independent or moderately oriented personalities of center. It was a very hard blow to the opposition: the consequences of the new political climate (essentially the formation of a center-left cabinet) soon became manifest to the benefit of the main governing party which was reaping significant successes: first of all all in the cantonal elections of October 1988; then in the municipal ones of March 1989 (recovering the leadership in all the cities that he had lost 6 years earlier and in which there was also a significant affirmation of the ” ecological ” party for the first time); finally in the elections for the European Parliament of June 1989 (although on that occasion, with 22 seats obtained, the PSF remained behind the RPR and the UDF united, which went from 41 to 26 seats). The steadfastness of the Rocard government proved to be proven on more than one occasion, such as, for example, in the rejection of the motion of censure presented by the right to the National Assembly in December 1988 against the government’s inability to deal with strikes in the public. services; o in the case of the approval of the overall plan of measures to be adopted between 1989 and 1992 to prepare the country for the formation of the single European market, expected in 1993 (April 1989). The demonstrations for the bicentenary of the Great Revolution seemed to attest, in a Paris renewed also from an urban point of view, a rediscovered political balance, albeit in a context characterized by the extinction of political passions, after the last five years lived rather in the name of lively and personalized contrasts between the presidency of the Republic and the presidency of the Council.

According to THESCIENCETUTOR, the questions are rather entrusted to the future, and essentially concern the dynamics to which the political and social system of philosophy will be subjected starting from the relevant changes that in the traditional reference framework were introduced precisely by the victory of Mitterrand in 1988: the obvious crisis of the Gaullist-inspired party, determined by having chosen a neo-conservative path, forgetting the original tradition of ” mass ”; the emergence after many years of a ” centrist ” pole endowed with a certain autonomy of political decisions; the circumstance, which occurred for the first time in the history of the Fifth Republic, whereby the party of the president and his closest allies do not have an absolute majority in Parliament.

In foreign policy, despite the concerns raised in many political circles by the speed and modalities of German reunification, relations with Germany remain marked by a substantial convergence of views, especially as regards Community policies. On the other hand, the position of France in the Middle East appears to be more problematic: in fact, the failure of its attempt at mediation in the Gulf crisis (January 1991) and its participation in the war, which broke out immediately afterwards, seem to compromise the traditionally autonomous role played in that crisis. area.

In the spring of 1991, elements of crisis undermined the solidity of the government, which was also forced to withdraw two bills on the reform of the electoral system (April). Mitterrand, in an attempt to revive the executive, appointed E. Cresson as prime minister. The government program did not present any particular novelties: it insisted in economic policy on the need to strengthen the currency and to control inflation and public spending, while on the social level it promised a more incisive policy regarding immigration. In this regard, it must be remembered that between the end of 1990 and the beginning of 1991 in the urban suburbs, mainly inhabited by first and second generation North African immigrants, violent unrest occurred.

In January 1992 L. Fabius replaced Fr Mauroy at the socialist summit, in the context of a renewal of the party. In March, the cantonal elections saw a strong retreat of the PSF, from which, however, the neo-Galilist forces and the Giscardians failed to benefit, and a good affirmation of the Greens. Following the electoral defeat, on 2 April Fr Bérégovoy replaced E. Cresson as head of the government. With regard to European policy, in June 1992 the constitutional changes aimed at bringing the French fundamental charter into line with the Maastricht Treaty were approved by a very large majority. In the same month Mitterrand landed at Sarajevo airport, placed under the fire of the Serbian militias, to bring his solidarity to Bosnia, thus showing that European integration did not exhaust the initiative and the role of France internationally. On September 20, 1992, a popular referendum was held for the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty, which had been wanted by Mitterrand and which saw a favorable result for the European Union, albeit to a limited extent (51%).

France Politics 4