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 he would be elected by a substantial majority on the first ballot. The results he had obtained in referenda in the past led one to believe that he would do even better in the presidential elections. His main argument in those referenda had been that if he did not obtain an unequivocal and massive response he could not carry on with his task. This election centered, directly and personally, on him. The outcome, then, appeared clear in advance.

It is interesting to look now into the reasons why he was forced to submit to a runoff; for though they do not define the future precisely, they do permit us to

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