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French National Elections - 1928

March 30, 1928

Report Outline
Policies of the National Union Government
The French Electoral System

In the general election to be held in France, April 22, 1928, all candidates who obtain a clear majority will be declared elected to the French Parliament. A second poll will be held on April 29 in those districts where no candidate obtained an absolute majority. The second election is a choice between the candidates who headed the lists at the first poll. The second election will be the more important of the two, for it is expected that a second ballot will be necessary in about two-thirds of the constituencies.

The second ballot will be of special advantage to the parties of the Left, for on that ballot it will be possible for them to enter combinations calculated to produce majorities for their candidates. On the first ballot the Communists, Socialists and extreme radicals are obliged, for doctrinal reasons, to put up different candidates, but at the second ballot they frequently are able to join together to defeat their more moderate opponents. In the last national elections in France, in 1924, the parties of the Left were joined together in the so-called Cartel des Gauches, but for the forthcoming elections they have not entered into such a combination, and each of the parties will put up its own slate of candidates, at least for the first ballot.

Significance of the French Elections

The forthcoming elections are considered of special importance because their results will decide whether the present Premier and Minister of Finance, Raymond Poincaré, is to remain in power to complete the financial program he initiated when he formed his present National Union Government in July, 1926. All of the usual popular issues, except the financial issue with its various ramifications, will thus be retired to the background, and will play no decisive part in the contest for control of the government. The elections are important also as the first to be held under the new election law adopted in 1927, which discards the proportional representation system in force when the voters last went to the polls in 1924.

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