The first Euro-elections took place over a year after the 1978 general election, and two years before the 1981 presidential elections. The nature of the Euro-electoral system made the Euro-elections seem a nation-wide test of the standing of the main political groupings. The results were scanned for clues as to the outcome of the 1981 election, and the European dimension of the election was largely hidden. By French standards, the 60.7% turnout was low (almost 20% down on the 1978 election) and on a par with the 60.4% turnout for President Pompidou’s 1973 referendum endorsing the EC’s first enlargement. Neither the referendum, nor the 1979 EP election offered that fundamental choix de société in terms of which the outcome of general or presidential elections is often seen. In 1979 of the eleven lists of candidates those supported by the four main political groupings surmounted the 5% electoral threshold to win EP seats: the Gaullists backed a list headed by the leader of the Rassemblement pour la République (RPR), Jacques Chirac, the Liste pour la Défense des Intérêts de la France en Europe (DIFE). The Giscardian grouping, the Union pour la Démocratie Française (UDF) supported the list headed by the Minister of Health, Mme Simone Veil, the Liste de l’Union pour la France en Europe (UFE).


Presidential Election Education Bill Direct Election Separate List Municipal Election 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    V. Wright (ed.), Continuity and Change in France (London: Allen & Unwin, 1984) pp. 37–8.Google Scholar
  2. 21.
    Patrick Manigand and Françoise de la Serre, Les Forces politiques et l’élection Européenne de 17 juin 1984 unpublished paper for the European Consortium for Political Research, Salzburg, Apr. 1984.Google Scholar
  3. 40.
    On the period to 1981 see V. Wright ‘The French Communists under the Fifth Republic’ in H. Machin (ed.), National Communism in Western Europe (London: Methuen, 1983) pp. 90–123. On the post-1981 period see Jaffré in Le Monde, 3 Apr. 1984.Google Scholar
  4. 43.
    Jaffré, ‘Les fantassins de l’extreme droite’ in Le Monde, 14 Feb. 1984 andGoogle Scholar
  5. Jaffré ‘Qui sont les électeurs des petites listes’ in Le Monde, 6 June 1984.Google Scholar
  6. 44.
    The comparison between maps showing the performance of Poujade and Tixier Vignancour, such as that on p. 297 of P. M. Williams, French Politicians and Elections 1951–1969 (Cambridge University Press, 1970) and of Le Pen (see Le Monde, 21 June 1984) is instructive.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Juliet Lodge 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne Stevens

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