Left-wing paper says voters 'mad' to back centrist

20th April 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 20, 2007 (AFP) - France's left-wing newspaper Liberation Friday urged readers not to vote for centrist presidential candidate Francois Bayrou, warning of a fatal blow to the French left if it fails to qualify for round two.

PARIS, April 20, 2007 (AFP) - France's left-wing newspaper Liberation Friday urged readers not to vote for centrist presidential candidate Francois Bayrou, warning of a fatal blow to the French left if it fails to qualify for round two.

Polls suggest many traditional left-wing voters could back Bayrou instead of the Socialist Segolene Royal in Sunday's first round, if they decide he stands a better chance of beating right-wing frontrunner Nicolas Sarkozy in a run-off.

"Bayrou? It's mad," wrote the left-wing newspaper. "If you vote Bayrou, it means you have decided, truly, to make the left disappear in the first round, for the second time running -- in other terms to wipe it from the map."

"The message will be clear: farewell to the left, to Socialism, to uncertain but generous social reform, to the struggle against unfettered capitalism," wrote Liberation. "A whole period of history.. consigned to the museum."

In 2002, the Socialist Party (PS) candidate Lionel Jospin was knocked out in round one by the far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, who went on to face off against Jacques Chirac in the run-off.

The PS has urged voters tempted by the far-left or centre to rally round Royal in the first round to avoid a repeat of 2002.

Liberation said the Socialist champion was capable of bringing renewal to the left, arguing that "Royal's mandate in the second round will not be to re-establish the old Socialism but to dynamite it."

So far both frontrunners have sought to shore up support from their core voters, with tough talk on immigration from Sarkozy and a focus on social measures from Royal. Both would be expected to shift their message to the centre for round two.

On Thursday the authoritative centre-left newspaper Le Monde also implicitly urged voters to eliminate Bayrou in round one, saying the country needed a straight left-right wing choice in the run-off.

Le Monde argued that it was important for two differing "visions of society" to be represented in the runoff so voters can "say clearly where they want to go, decide on a certain idea of our future and of our life together."


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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