There are obvious hesitations at the heart of the government. Either Jospin must keep to his previous arbitrations by sparing Pacs from the scissors of censure, or he acknowledges a defeat far more serious than he has yet recognised.
LUCKILY, IN politics, ridicule doesn't kill. So Jospin is still alive, which is a piece of good news for the endangered species we know as the Prime Minister. Its lifespan has recently been radically shortened. It may seem a little unjust to speak of the ridicule of Jospin, of Pacs and of the parliamentary disaster last Friday. In this case ridicule rears its ugly head in the discrepancy between the Prime Minister's TV broadcast about the Pacs vote last week, and the headlong flight of his left-wing MPs from the Assembly, and the vote the following day. By failing to vote they made a mockery of Jospin who went on television to heighten public awareness of the vote, only to have those same cameras film, the next day, images of his incapacity to be obeyed. So for Jospin, therefore, even though ridicule can't kill him, it has certainly injured and weakened him.
Le Journal de Dimanche.
AN EMBARRASSING number of left-wing members of parliament voted with their feet by avoiding the Pacs debate and vote altogether. What must surely jar for them is the proposal to officially recognise the homosexual couple. It is certainly this part of the legislation that must be attenuated or diluted in the new version by the introduction of a simple contract between two people "affectionately" linked rather than sexually. By avoiding the issue altogether the left-wing MPs, the majority of whom are Socialist, have committed the parliamentary equivalent of the Freudian slip - it surely indicates a certain repression on their part.
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