French voters rejected a bid by the Socialist Party to recapture a parliamentary majority, but aides to President Francois Mitterrand say the party still can assemble a governing coalition with centrists.
"The French people did not want to give all power to one party," former president Valery Giscard d'Estaing, a conservative, said Sunday night after learning of the results of the day's parliamentary election runoff. "They were right. It is not a negative message but positive."Mitterrand, re-elected chief of state last month by a landslide, gave no immediate indication of his plans following the surprise result.
But some of his senior advisers said he was looking to moderate centrists to join the Socialists and create a new government that would have a parliamentary majority.
Political sources said it was likely Mitterrand, 71, planned to keep current Socialist Prime Minister Michel Rocard for at least the next 10 days until the new National Assembly meets.
The Socialists and their allies won the most seats in the runoff elections for the National Assembly. But with only 276 seats in the powerful 577-member lower house, they fell short of an absolute majority of 289.
The conservative-centrist coalition was close behind with 271 seats, the Communist Party won 27 and the extreme right-wing National Front only 1.
Election officials said two final seats for French Polynesia were to be determined June 19.
At the Paris stock market, dealers said share values were down as much as 2 percent Monday morning due to pessimism over the lack of a parliamentary majority.
In the 30-year history of the French Fifth Republic founded by Charles de Gaulle, it was the first time a National Assembly lacked an absolute majority, experts said.