Chirac tells right to shun idea of a new 'cohabitation'

JACQUES CHIRAC, the Gaullist leader, has said French conservatives should not serve under President Francois Mitterrand if the right wins parliamentary elections next March.

Mr Chirac, Prime Minister under Mr Mitterrand during the 1986-88 cohabitation after the right won elections while the Socialist President still had two years to serve, said in a television interview that 'morals and dignity should lead the President of the Republic this time to draw the conclusions' and leave office if the right wins.

Mr Chirac, reconfirmed as president of the Gaullist RPR party this week, is currently best placed to win a presidential election, according to opinion polls.

There has been constant speculation that Mr Mitterrand, diagnosed to have cancer of the prostate, might soon choose to step down after gaining the victory he wanted for the 'yes' vote in last Sunday's referendum on the Maastricht treaty. Mr Chirac's words were an apparent attempt to put on the pressure for a complete change of political power. The ruling Socialist Party is at a very low ebb and its chances of recovery by March are slim.

Although Mr Chirac led the 'yes' faction in his party, his refusal to envisage a new cohabitation coincides with the view of the leaders of the majority Gaullist 'no' campaign, Philippe Seguin and Charles Pasqua, who were both ministers in Mr Chirac's 1986-88 cabinet.

It was hardly likely to please the patrician Edouard Balladur, who was Mr Chirac's finance minister and has been tipped as a likely choice for prime minister if Mr Mitterrand does stay on for a cohabitation bis. The Gaullist 'no' campaigners have singled out Mr Balladur as one of the leaders with whom they are most out of tune. So Mr Chirac's statement could be seen as an olive branch to the 'no' faction as well as an attempt to draw the battlelines in the fight against Mr Mitterrand.

The first experience of cohabitation was a bitter one for the Gaullists and their allies in the centre-right Union for French Democracy (UDF). The President kept the reins on foreign policy and defence and was wont to criticise the actions of what was theoretically his own government, becoming a sort of dissident-in-chief. In 1988, he easily won the presidential election against his own prime minister, threw new parliamentary elections and formed a Socialist government.

However, there was a fresh dissonance in Gaullist ranks yesterday as Jacques Chaban-Delmas, who was prime minister from 1969 to 1972 under Georges Pompidou, the last Gaullist president, said that it was constitutionally impossible to hold 'a government strike'. The new parliamentary majority formed after the next general elections would be simply obliged to govern, he said.

Arts and Entertainment
TVShow's twee, safe facade smashed by ice cream melting scandal
News
newsVideo for No campaign was meant to get women voting
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Systems & Data Lead – Oxfordshire – Permanent – Up to £24k

£20000 - £24000 Per Annum 28 days holiday, free parking, pension: Clearwater P...

Digital Media Manager

£38000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based i...

Primary Supply Teacher

£115 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Primary supply teacher Hertford...

Primary Supply Teacher in Stevenage

£115 - £121 per day: Randstad Education Luton: primary teacher Hertfordshire

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?