THE middle-of-the-road parties, as they would be called in Anglo-Saxon countries, came out on top in the recent French elections, but the Pleven Cabinet formed after long delay does not provide the strong government we all had hoped for, since they are more badly divided among themselves than before. The right wing of the Center has been strengthened at the expense of the left wing, and some of that right wing may be attracted to the Rally of the French People, the Gaullists. The Communists received 450,000 votes less than in the elections of November 1946, a drop from 28.4 percent to 26.48 percent of the total. This is about what they had in the elections of the spring of 1946. The Rally of the French People (R.P.F.) received a little more than 4,000,000 votes, that is, 21.74 percent. Together the two extremes add up to a little less than the majority of the total ballots cast. Thanks to the electoral law which favors the "affiliated" parties of the Center, however, this gives them but 224 deputies out of 625--markedly less than half.
The strength of the Center parties is receding. The Socialist Party lost 650,000 votes, giving it 14.54 percent instead of 17.9 of the total. The Popular Republican Movement (M.P.R.) suffered the staggering loss of 2,650,000 votes, or more than half of the number it obtained in November 1946; it now has 12.38 percent instead of 26.4. The Left Republican Rally (R.G.R.), which includes the Radicals, lost slightly--2,194,000 votes as against 2,381,000 or 11.54 percent instead of 12.4. The moderate groups of the Right, Republican Liberty Party (P.R.L.), Independents and Peasants, gained slightly, with 2,496,000 votes and 13.13 percent compared with 2,466,000 and 12.84. In the Assembly, the Socialist Party increased its deputies by four, the M.R.P. lost 62, the R.G.R. gained 34, and the Moderates of the Right gained 12.
How should these statistics be interpreted? The size of the Communist vote, after three years of the Marshall Plan and the effort to organize an Atlantic army, is not discouraging for
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