Two months before the French Presidential elections, Prime Minister Lionel Jospin looks set to win.
The latest opinion polls point towards a second-round victory by the Socialist Jospin, against the neo-Gaullist, and incumbent President Jacques Chirac, with Jean-Pierre Chevenement, leader of the Citizens’ Movement, in third place with 13% of the vote. Jean Marie Le Pen,the extreme right-wing candidate is expected to finish in fourth place with around 10%.
On the left, in her fifth candidacy, Arlette Laguiller is expected to receive between 8 and 10%, with the French Communist Party candidate, Robert Hue, obtaining around 6%.
Other candidates are Francois Bayrou (centre), Alain Madelin (Liberal) and Noel Mamere (ecologists), who are not expected to break through the 5% barrier.
The second round is programmed for 5th May. If Chirac cannot inject more enthusiasm into his campaign, Jospin looks certain to win. For this reason, the period of “cohabitation” has ended, with Chirac formally accusing Jospin of having failed in his promise to deliver over the question of crime and public security, an issue which affects most western European nations.
For the time being, the French appear to be willing to give Jospin a second chance.
Emilie ACQUITAINE PRAVDA.Ru PARIS
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