Registration of candidates to the presidential post completed in France on April 3. The total number of registered candidates made up 16. Incumbent President Jacques Chirac, Prime Minister Socialist Lionel Jospin, Communist Robert Hue, National Front party leader Jean-Marie Le Pen are among the candidates. Other candidates are less popular, followers of the “green” party and trotskists have been also registered for the presidential elections. The French press has been much talking over Lionel Jospin’s biography, who used to be among trotskists in his young age, but later joined socialists, as considered them to be a more serious party.
It is perfectly clear, the incumbent president and prime minister are the most probable candidates to the presidential post, main attention will be focused on them. The rest of the candidates are unlikely to succeed. Even those of them who are really rather popular, Robert Hue and Le Pen, are the leaders of parties with the ideas not really popular in France nowadays.
Like in any other pre-election campaign, the French one can hardly avoid scandals. Newspapers accuse Jacques Chirac of misusage of governmental funds at the rate of about $2 million (it is said the money was spent on delicacies over the period of Chirac’s presidency). The prosecutor himself admits, it will be rather difficult to prove Chirac’s guilt, as majority of orders was paid in cash. The president himself protests against the accusation of the press and calls it a mere “pre-election trick”. The French far-right leader Le Pen became furious after launching of distribution of a film shading unfavorable light on the nationalists.
At the same time the pre-election campaign is developing against the background of even more tragic events. Last week’s accident is still distressing, when Richard Durn, a member of the “green” party, killed and wounded dozens of people in the suburb of Paris, Nanterre. French politicians explain the tragedy with Durn’s mental illness. And what is the explanation to the recent attacks on Jews in France? The Israeli authorities accuse the France of anti-Semitism protection.
Slight interest of voters to the coming elections poses another problem for the candidates to the presidential post. French people are more concerned about their private lives, than fate of the politicians claiming to the presidential post. Scandals of this kind are sure to occur oftener in the future, to attract voters’ attention at least.
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/04/05/39303.html