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September 09, 1994 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-09-09

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 9, 1994 - 11
,Iliness of French president unsettles Paris political scene

T ne wasiungton Post
PARIS - Eight months before he
is scheduled to leave the Elysee Pal-
ace, an end-of-term mood is rapidly
engulfing Francois Mitterrand's
presidency, leaving French voters per-
plexed and agitated about whether
they will have to choose his successor
sooner than expected.
0 As he recovers from his second
operation for prostate cancer and un-
dergoes debilitating chemotherapy
treatment, Mitterrand appears to be
paying closer attention to squaring
his accounts rather than tending af-
fairs of state. Close friends said he
seems consumed by a quest to settle

old scores, burnish his place in his-
tory and map the country's future
before his resources are exhausted
In an interview with the conserva-
tive daily Le Figaro, Mitterrand did
little to quell rampant speculation that
he may not finish out his term in
offering some candid ruminations
about his sense of mortality.
"Everybody is aware of my ill-
ness," he acknowledged. "I think it
(cancer) will be obliging enough to
allow me to complete my term. That's
what I believe. Perhaps I may be
wrong."
The 77-year-old leader expressed
profound regrets that he may not have

enough time left to write books in
which he wanted to record his reflec-
tions for posterity and quoted the
Bible: "You are dust and you will
return to dust."
In contrast to President Georges
Pompidou, who kept his illness hid-
den from the French public until his
death in 1974, Mitterrand has taken
pride in issuing regular medical bul-
letins signed by his doctors. He has
frequently promised that he will never
allow his illness to interfere with car-
rying out the duties of the presidency.
When he skipped some of
yesterday's ceremonies in Berlin
marking the departure of Western

Allied troops, for what a German
spokesman described as "health rea-
sons," Mitterrand's office issued a
hasty denial and insisted that he had
never planned to attend a commemo-
ration of the 1948 Berlin airlift or the
nighttime military parade.
Meanwhile, Mitterrand has coop-
erated with biographers exploring the
most controversial phase of his life:
his years in the 1930s as a rightist
student and then during World War II
when he served as a minor function-
ary in the Vichy collaborationist re-
gime headed by Marshal Philippe
Petain before joining the anti-Nazi
resistance.

Revelations by thejournalist Pierre
Pean in his book "A French Youth:
Fran ois Mitterrand 1934-1947" have
shocked and dismayed many of
Mitterrand's leftist supporters. Even
though rumors have circulated for
years about Mitterrand's ambiguous
sympathies, Socialist Party members
were stunned to learn that their leader
maintained a friendship with Rene
Bousquet -- the former Vichy police
chief who until his assassination last
year was struggling to avoid trial for
his role in rounding up Jews during
the Nazi occupation.
Mitterrand insists that his service
in the Vichy regime, which awarded

him its highest honor, was part of an
elaborate effort to construct an alibi
for his resistance work. But the expla-
nations have sounded hollow to his
supporters.
Lionel Jospin, a former Socialist
Party leader, said, "What I can't un-
derstand are the links he (Mitterrand)
maintained right through the '80s with
right-wing personalities, particularly
Bousquet."
Mitterrand, while trying to set the
record straight about his past, has also
dedicated much of his time and en-
ergy in the twilight phase of his presi-
dency to influence the course of his
country's political destiny.

-p

Al

Cinton tries to
calm South
Korean fears 4 ,y

Two-party system emerges as
Japan plans special election

about talks
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - President
Clinton moved personally yesterday
to try to calm fears in Seoul about the
deepening U.S. dialogue with North
Korea, promising South Korea For-
eign Minister Han Sung Joo "we'll be
there with you," according to Han.
The president's remarks, at the
end of a White House meeting, were
the latest and most significant in a
series of efforts by the Clinton admin-
*stration to reassure South Korea that
its ties with the United States will not
be harmed by the talks with
Pyongyang.
"The (South) Korean public
needed a little assurance," Han told
the Los Angeles Times in an inter-
view after the White House meeting.
"South Korean people have been used
to an almost exclusive relationship
With the United States over the past
0 years. It takes repeated reassur-
ance to adjust to a new situation in
which the United States talks to North
Korea."
Last month, U.S. and North Ko-
rean negotiators in Geneva agreed on
the outlines of a possible settlement
of the dispute over North Korea's
nuclear program, a dispute that began
last year when North Korea threat-
ned to withdraw from the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty and refused
to account for material that could be
used to build a nuclear weapon.
As part of a nuclear accord, the
Clinton administration said it is pre-
pared to move toward setting up liai-
son offices for the United States in
Pyongyang and for North Korea in

The Washington Post
OKAZAKI, Japan - In keeping
with years of political tradition, the
candidates wear white gloves on their
hands, broad white ribbons across their
chests, and flowing scarves wrapped
fighter-pilot style around their heads.
They bow deeply to each voter who
passes by, and they carry folding fans
to beat the heat during a long day on
the stump.
In style, at least, the campaign for
Sunday's special election looks like
every other Japanese political cam-
paign for the last 50 years or so. But
thepolitical setting is completely new.
Political pros and pundits have
declared that the election to fill a
vacant seat in the upper house of
Japan's national Diet, or parliament,
constitutes the first page of a whole
new chapter in Japanese politics.
Unlike any previous election, the
campaign is mainly a two-party con-
test, with a reform-minded liberal and
a status-quo conservative battling over
issues and broad policy questions.
ForAmericans, of course, that is what
campaigns are supposed to look like.
But in Japan, this is unprecedented.
For four decades after World War
II, Japan was a one-party democracy,

with the Liberal Democratic Party,
the most conservative of Japan's ma-
jor parties, controlling every parlia-
ment and electing every prime minis-
ter. A clutch of smaller parties swam
in its wake, never strong enough to
challenge for power.
But in the historic election last
July, a coalition of reformers took
advantage of the popular hunger for
change and dumped the Liberal Demo-
crats from power. Since then, control
of the government has seesawed back
and forth from the reform group to an
ad-hoc coalition centered on the rem-
nants of the old ruling party.
Meanwhile, the Diet has passed a
sweeping anti-corruption bill that will
rewrite the nation's political map and
force far-reaching change in election
campaigns. The new political system
was designed to turn parliamentary
elections into issue-oriented two-party
contests.
And sure enough, that seems to
have happened in Aichi Prefecture,
an industrial area surrounding
Nagoya, roughly midway between
Tokyo and Osaka.
The special election here is the
first campaign for national office since
the formation of the two warring coa-

litions. There are seven candidates
running for the vacant Diet seat, but
the two dominant figures are a pair of
political newcomers representing the
two coalitions.
The ad-hoc coalition that currently
runs the national government - a
marriage of political convenience
between the old Liberal Democratic
Party and its long-time adversary, the
Socialist Party-is backing an Ameri-
can-educated former U.N. official,
Jiro Mizuno.
Mizuno is a wooden campaigner
but he has the conservative line down,
pat. "We need stability to make
progress," he told voters yesterday.
"We can't race around changing ev-
erything willy-nilly." The opposition,
about 10 political groups from the
anti-Liberal Democratic coalition, has
unified around the candidacy of
Yuzuru Tsuzuki, a veteran of Japan's
elite federal bureaucracy. Tsuzuki, a
forceful orator, hits hard on the issues
that are central to the reform coali-
tion, such as deregulation and con-
sumers' and women's rights.
To emphasize that they represent
a break from the past, both candidates
decline to declare what party they
belong to.

AP PHOTO
Nine North Korean loggers who defected in August held a joint news
conference yesterday and said more North Koreans would defect because of
hunger and growing knowledge of the outside world.

North Korea attempts
'to drive a wedge'
between the U.S. and
South Korea, one
diplomat says. The
scheme will fall, U.S.
officials pledge.
Washington, the first step toward es-
tablishment of diplomatic relations.
"They (the South Koreans) are
really very worried," observed one
Washington-based diplomat who fol-
lows Korean affairs. "The State De-
partment has been doing its best to
reassure them, to say the talks with
North Korea are just exploratory and

that the liaison offices won't be opened
now. But ever since the talks began, it
has been consistent North Korean
policy to drive a wedge between
Washington and Seoul."
The South Korean foreign minis-
ter was hurriedly dispatched to Wash-
ington this week, shortly after the
Clinton administration announced that
it was holding new, working-level
talks with North Korea this weekend.
South Korea has been urging the
Clinton administration to make sure
Washington's diplomacy with
Pyongyang proceeds only as fast as
Seoul's own, separate talks with its
northern neighbor. Han said the
United States and South Korea need
to achieve "a rough parallelism" be-
tween the two sets of talks.

.*

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