Rumblings on the French Left

Rumblings on the French Left

The French Left has seemed strangely silent since its defeat–which was so nearly a victory–in the election of May 1974. Perhaps it had first to overcome its disappointment at having missed out by so narrow a margin. But the new government can boast of being partly responsible for this silence. Whether Giscard d’Estaing has acted out of true liberalism or whether, in thinking ahead to the 1976 elections for the legislative assembly, he must take into account the wishes expressed by more than half the country, the fact remains that the new President has responded promptly to certain hopes for change. The changes include: establishment of the right to vote at eighteen; enforcement-at last-of the law concerning contraception and abortion; initiation of long-promised penal reforms; higher taxes on the profits of large corporations; financial austerity intensified and more readily accepted because more fairly shared; also, in the near future, possibly a reform of military service regulations, and, assuredly, a liberalization of the abortion law. All these reforms also had been part of the Left’s program. Nonetheless, Giscard d’Estaing has taken it upon himself to change something in France. But what?

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tote | University of California Press Lima