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Jospin beaten by split vote

It was a shame that Simon Heffer (Connexion, Comment, November issue) marred an otherwise excellent round-up of recent French presidents by including a slur that says more about his own prejudice than about the facts.

Lionel Jospin did not fail to make it to the second round of the presidential election of 2002 because of his “own ineptitude”.

The real reason is obviously too difficult for a right-wing columnist to understand.

The first round of that election had 16 candidates standing, many from marginal left-wing parties.

The left’s strategy was for every minor Marxist demagogue to get his/her day in the sunshine and then for everyone to come together with studied repugnance (having publicised their ideologies on telly) and vote for Jospin in the second round.

Stupidly, they split the vote, allowing right-wingers to take the two top positions. Blame left-wing voters but not Jospin personally. None of this was his fault.

It could be argued that Jospin is the best president France has never had. Given the chance, he might have sorted out some of Mr Heffer’s favourite French faults while not surrendering the country to technocrats and globalisers.

Nick Inman, Larreule

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