Identical twins run opposing campaigns

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FRENCH voters are forever saying that all politicians look the same. And in the canton of Beaufort, in the Jura in eastern France, there is no arguing with them, writes John Lichfield.

The candidate of the centre-right in the local elections this Sunday is Christian Buchot, 42. The candidate of the Socialists and Greens is Claude Buchot, 42. The two are not only brothers but identicaude's wife has difficulty telling them apart.

When it comes to politics, the twins are the best of enemies. Christian, already mayor of the small town of Maynal in the canton, follows the family preference for the Gaullists. Claude, a wine grower, became a socialist and then a green. There are seven other candidates but it is thought possible that the two brothers will top the poll and go into the run-off for a seat on the council for the departement the following Sunday.

On the key local issue - whether or not an industrial incinerator should be extended - the two brothers take divergent views. Christian says that a bigger incinerator would create more jobs. Claude agrees, but says that the new building should be moved further from the village. He has proposed a "charter for the protection of the local heritage and environment".

Christian's posters show him full face; Claude's, to be different, show him in profile.

On Saturday, the day before the poll, the two brothers will have lunch at their parents' house, as they have had every Saturday for the last 10 years. And which way will their parents vote on Sunday? There is no question that they will vote for the Gaullist candidate, Christian. Claude admits that he is the black - or red and green - sheep of the family.