France expects as Delors' hat hovers above the ring
Tuesday 30 August 1994
As the magazines appeared last weekend, the outgoing president of the European Commission held a well-publicised meeting with his supporters, the young hopefuls of the opposition Socialist Party.
Some saw this as the start of Mr Delors's campaign to succeed Francois Mitterrand when the Socialist President's mandate ends next May. Virtually the only person not saying so was Mr Delors himself. 'It doesn't concern you,' he told journalists at the meeting of his Club Temoin in the Breton city of Lorient. On another occasion, he said the prospect of retirement when he leaves Brussels at the end of this year did not frighten him.
Mr Delors has for long been mooted as a potential successor to Mr Mitterrand but he has consistently refused to be drawn. However, it seems clear now that he has positioned himself as a candidate while taking care to do so in the most face-saving way possible, holding himself back until the last moment and standing only if victory is within his reach.
His tactics resemble those of Edouard Balladur, the Gaullist Prime Minister who, while never saying he will be a candidate for the Elysee Palace, has left few in doubt that he is preparing to stand. If Mr Balladur stands, it will queer the pitch for Jacques Chirac, head of the Gaullist RPR party. Mr Balladur, with 63 per cent in the Journal du Dimanche's 'barometre' of his popularity this week, has never had it so good. Only if his popularity slipped badly would he be unwise to go for the Elysee.
It is perhaps only if Mr Balladur drops out that Mr Delors, then probably facing Mr Chirac, will want to stand. Popular across party lines, Mr Delors even has the favour of 56 per cent of the centre- right Union for French Democracy (UDF), the Gaullists' government coalition partners, according to the Sofres polling institute. While most polls give the right victory next May no matter what, a few have shown Mr Delors defeating Mr Chirac or giving him a close fight.
Mr Delors' main problem is lack of campaigning experience. The only election he fought was to be mayor of Clichy in the Paris suburbs 11 years ago. What commentators call his 'didactic' approach, however, makes him good on television. To exploit this, Le Nouvel Observateur said he should delay announcing his candidature as late as possible before the first round of voting on 23 April.
- 1 Rihanna 'nude photos' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Frank Lampard equalises for Manchester City against Chelsea: how Twitter reacted
- 4 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
350 skinny dippers brave Northumberland seas for record attempt at mass naked swim
Rihanna 'nude photos' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
Jennifer Lawrence leaked 4Chan sex video branded 'fake' by forum users
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
£85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...
£40000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...
£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...
£38000 - £45000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...