Coming Election of French President
Delayed Announcement of De Geulle's Candidacy
President de Gaulle's announcement of his intention X to seek re-election surprised no one. Although the French leader waited until November 4 to make his candidacy official, it had been virtually taken for granted for months. De Gaulle's success at the polls on December 5 also is taken for granted, but French voters will at least have the satisfaction of participating directly in the choice of their country's chief executive. It will be the first time they have done so since Louis Napoleon (later Napoleon III) was made President of France by popular vote in 1848.
De Gaulle is asking for more than a simple majority of the ballots cast in this year's election. When he made known his candidacy in a radio-television speech, he called for a “massive endorsement” so that “the future of the new republic will be assured definitely.” If that endorsement is not forthcoming, de Gaulle warned, the Fifth Republic “will soon crumble and…France—this time without any hope of recourse—will be reduced to confusion more disastrous than she has ever known.”
All signs point to a sweeping de Gaulle victory. A French Institute of Public Opinion poll published in mid-October indicated that, if the election had been held then, de Gaulle would have received 68 per cent of the vote and his closest competitor only 23 per cent. The President has carefully laid the groundwork for re-election. Only last spring he completed a tour of all 90 of the metropolitan departments of France, fulfilling a pledge made years earlier; his theme in speech after speech before provincial audiences was the need for continuity in French policy.