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The failing franc creates such situations in French politics as strike the AngloSaxon with wonder. M. Briand has supplied the latest turn by switching parties while keeping his seat as Premier. The circumstance illustrates an emergency where French vacillations have provided a continuous administration in a case where the rigid two party system in Britain would have forced a break. But one cannot say that the exception does not prove the rule.
Briand was elected by the left. He advocated policies, not so extreme as Herr. ot's, but definitely opposed to the capitalist-militarist doctrine of Poincare. And upon these policies, the right was Briand's foe. Now, however, in seeking to stay the franc, already sunk to an unspeakably low ebb, the Briand government has placed the crucial matter of debts and debt liquidation into the hands of expert financiers, hoping that they can evolve a solution The Premier's supporters on the left, who have less to lose from a financial debacle than the more capitalistic right have deserted him on the ground that he has abandoned the country into the hands of the "interests". Only twenty of Briand's personal friends in the left, remain with him.
But here the whole right stepped into the breach, joined with the twenty still loyal to the Premier, and, thus forming a majority, voted confidence. The situation is queer and precarious. Briand has a majority to which he can look for support upon only one subject, namely finance. For help upon all others, he must look to his financial opponents. He must play a shifting, short-suited game, now depending upon one hand, now upon the other. Apart from the actual financial problem, observers can watch with interest, this spectacular straddling.
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