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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 9, No. 2. March 20, 1946

Political Review

Political Review

From discussions with Mlle. Delmas, the reading of an information pamphlet on French political organisations, produced for the 1945 elections, and other pamphlets, the following facts emerge. There are only three parties of any importance—the Communist and Socialist Parties, and the mouvement Republicain Populaire (MRP). The Communists were the only strong party to come out of the resistance movement, of which they were the basis. The Socialists came out of the struggle, in which they had largely worked under the superior Commun[unclear: ist] leadership, rather hesitant and undecided on their fundamental tenets. There is a very strong move to unite these two parties into a Workers' Party, based on the 6,000,000 membership of the Trade Union Movement. This was rejected at the last Socialist Party Conference by only a 55/45 majority. The MRP was not a section of the resistance movement, but was formed with the backing of General de Gaulle after the liberation of France. Its basic support comes from those areas which were not badly hit by the occupation, and from the wealthy agricultural provinces which were, because of their value, largely spared by the Nazis. Previously it had three Cabinet Ministers, but now its only representative is M. Bldault, the Foreign Minister. Its aims seem to have been to prevent a Communist-Socialist alliance, by appealing to the Socialists as democrats and liberals to oppose the Communists as would-be dictators.

De Gaulle, Mlle. Delmas points out, never had in France the reputation as a political leader that he gained abroad—the successes of the Free French forces were well written up and appreciated in the clandestine press, but those inside France were too busy fighting Nazis to worry over the political views of the French leader outside France—and his political eclipse, while materially affecting the influence of the MRP, has not affected the other two parties. There is every possibility that the proposed merging of the two main parties will have taken place by the next elections. In this the students of France, in alliance with the whole Youth Movement, will have played no small part.