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Communists threaten French austerity plan

The government under Socialist President Francois Mitterrand survived a confidence vote. But there were threats of dissent ahead for the government's new austerity package.

The package passed easily in Parliament because the French Communist Party, junior partners in the coalition, voted with the Socialists. But a Communist leader said party deputies might abstain on Monday when the Assembly is asked to give the Cabinet power to put some of the measures into effect by decree. Political commentators said the abstention was unlikely to provoke a crisis, but it would be a Communist gesture to supporters, who have seen their party's influence decline.

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