Defferre, Gaston
April 1966
Foreign Affairs;Apr1966, Vol. 44 Issue 3, p434
The article focuses on the outcome of the presidential elections in France in the mid-1960s. The outcome of the presidential elections in France took public opinion abroad by surprise. General de Gaulle was thought to be so exceptional a politician, with such great personal radiance and such a firm grip on opinion that it seemed a substantial majority on the first ballot would elect him. This election centered, directly and personally, on him. The outcome, then, appeared clear in advance. One characteristic of the recent election was that the traditionally Gaullist electorate in the rural areas voted for the opposition candidates. Another factor in the success of the opposition was the fact that for the first time since de Gaulle returned to power. Frenchmen were exposed to a variety of views on radio and television. Gaullist supporters are a very heterogeneous group, composed largely of conservatives, with some leftists, socialists, communists and radicals, but especially of a mass of floating voters, representing 40 percent of the active electorate, whose choice is decisive on election day.


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