Parliament vote tightens de Gaulle's grip

PARIS, Dec. 1, 1958 (UPI) - Premier Charles de Gaulle ruled today as France's undisputed strong man, swept to a pinnacle of power and prestige by a tidal wave of votes in runoff elections yesterday for Parliament. This was the third straight massive confidence vote for de Gaulle in two months. He is expected to get an even bigger edge on Dec. 21, when 100,000 "grand electors" meet to name a new president with greater powers than modern France has known. De Gaulle is the overwhelming favorite.

If the vote was a smashing defeat for the Communists, it was a bitter vote of no confidence for the former deputies who snarled French politics from the day the Fourth Republic began after World War II.


Only 146 former deputies were re-elected in the race for 465 seats; 338 were beaten and 58 did not run for re-election.

Former Premier Edgar Faure and Socialist Paul Ramadier were defeated. Former premiers Pierre Mendes-France and Joseph Laniel were knocked out a week ago. Former Premier Edouard Daladier quit after the first ballot because his defeat was certain.

Other losses were Communist leaders Jacques Duclos and Jeannette Vermeersch, wife of party boss Maurice Thorez. Thorez got elected, however.

The dominant party is the Union for a New Republic (UNR), a 100 % pro-de Gaulle group founded recently by Minister of Information Jacques Soustelle to act on the general's behalf in Parliament. It won 26 % of the popular vote and 188 seats.

The Communists, who were long the largest party with 150 seats in the Assembly, fell to 10. They received a large popular vote but their opponents ran only one or two candidates in Communist districts so as not to split the anti-Communist votes.

The Communists already began yelling "foul" and said the delegates elected were "Fascists."

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