INTERNATIONAL: Weber to head comms for the French Socialist Party

PARIS: Henri Weber has been named head of communications for the

French Socialist Party (PS), the political party of Prime Minister

Lionel Jospin.



With municipal elections being held on 11 and 18 March, Weber has been

working round-the-clock attempting to help the socialists win a number

of key races.



The most notable is that for the mayorship of Paris, in which socialist

Bertrand Delanoe is favoured to defeat Gaullist candidate Philippe

Seguin, a victory which would give the PS control of Paris for the first

time in 24 years.



He is also handling the communications for a number of key provincial

election battles, among them that for the mayorship of Lille, in which

Martine Aubry is favoured, but also the mayorship of Avignon, a post

which the PS would like to see won by present minister of solidarity and

work Elisabeth Guigou.



When municipal elections are over, Weber is expected to start the ball

rolling for Jospin's presidential bid.



Jospin is running against head of state Jacques Chirac. Presidential

elections are to be held in the spring of 2002.



Weber was until now the PS's specialist in the field of arts and

culture.



Lionel Jospin very nearly defeated Jacques Chirac in a run-off during

the presidential election in April 1995. Jospin had tried to rally

support with a campaign focusing on France's domestic problems,

especially the high unemployment rate.



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