In February 1883 Ferry became prime minister for the second time, forming a ministry that was to last for more than two years. Gambetta's death had simplified the political situation, as the Opportunists were no longer divided between supporters of Ferry and of Gambetta. A few of Gambetta's followers moved left to join the Radicals, while the great majority decided to support Ferry. Ferry's theme was that 'the peril is on the Left', implying that the monarchists no longer posed a serious threat, and that it was time for a realignment of French politics on new issues. The Times wrote that the central issue in French politics was now the conflict between the governmental republicans, led by Ferry, and the Radical opposition, led by Clemenceau. 41 From 1883 to 1885 there was a duel between Ferry and Clemenceau, the recognized leaders of the two wings of the republican party, centering on three issues: constitutional reform, the social question, and colonial policy.
Clemenceau made a long speech on constitutional reform on 6 March and others on the election of magistrates covering much the same ground on 22-3 January and 2 June. 42 His basic point was that the democratic principle should be applied to the judiciary as well as to the legislature. There was general agreement among republicans that those magistrates closely associated with political trials under the Empire and at the time____________________