Letter From Paris: Between Pompidou and CP

Letter From Paris: Between Pompidou and CP

If we set aside the events of May 1968 (how aberrant they really were becomes increasingly evident), we may wonder whether it does not take a world war or the jolts of decolonization for France to lose her electoral equilibrium. The moment the political situation returns to normal,traditional structures reappear—not entirely unchanged, but continuing in the same evolutionary pattern that has been developing over a fiftyyear period and that persists, despite many shocks, sometimes in subterranean ways.

The “non” vote that defeated the reforms proposed by de Gaulle’s last referendum can be ascribed to numerous circumstantial factors—not to mention their antidemocratic, somewhat Maurrassian aspects, which most voters did not clearly detect. Primarily the “non” vote expressed both the voters’ refusal to institute far-reaching reforms in the absence of a crisis, and their wish to return to traditional political habits and practices in the context of new institutions.

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