A Precarious Balancing Act

Francois Mitterrand did his best to hide his humiliation. The day after the rightist opposition routed his Socialist party, France's 76-year-old President named Gaullist Edouard Balladur as Prime Minister. And he swiftly set the top priority for the final two years of his presidency: preserving the fragile relationship between the franc and the German mark that is the linchpin of hopes for a united Europe. "Without a common monetary system," Mitterrand warned in a nationwide broadcast, "there is no Europe."

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