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Thursday, 14 December, 2000, 14:04 GMT
World press reacts to Bush
stack of newspapers
Mr Bush's photo is on newspapers across the world
Newspapers around the world have been reacting with mixed feelings to George W Bush's victory in the long battle for the US presidency.

Most seem relieved the race is over - but there are concerns about the close Supreme Court ruling that ended the contest.

front page of The Mirror newspaper
The Mirror says Mr Bush is a bad choice
Australia's Sydney Morning Herald newspaper says in an editorial that the drawn-out race for the White House had no winner, only losers.

"As the curtain comes down on the presidential aspirations of Democrat Al Gore, the real loser of the election is the US political system and its fundamental components - the legitimacy of its electoral machinery, the independence of its judiciary and the credibility of its politicians," the paper says.

"We appear to have a winner. But there is no joy in this victory, only a grim relief that this long election night is almost over.

"There will be American-style pageantry, and grand speeches about the best democracy in the world. But the myths have gone. The masks are off."

In a similar vein, The leading French daily Le Monde regrets that the Supreme Court's ruling "asserted the primacy of procedure, the electoral timetable, over principle: one vote, one voice".

It says: "In sound democratic terms, it was necessary, imperative and indispensable to find out the real intentions of Florida's six million voters."

The paper says we will never know for certain who won the most votes in Florida.

In Japan, an editorial in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper raises worries about the "struggle that divided the United States in two by partisanship."

On a more positive note, Spain's ABC says: "It must be recognised that, far from showing any signs of weakness, American democracy rose admirably above the many shortcomings of the electoral process".

But some newspapers have concerns about Mr Bush's reputation as a politician who knows little about foreign policy issues.

The UK's The Mirror newspaper has a front page picture of the globe with an arrow pointing to Britain.

"We are here," it says.

The paper has a cut-out-and-keep guide to the world for Mr Bush, and takes a critical line in its editorial:

"His presidency is so tainted before it begins that America faces becoming the world's laughing stock over the next four years."

But Germany's Frankfurter Rundschau says that after the Clinton impeachment scandal, America is ready for "a fresh start".

Cuba mocks

In Cuba, the official media poured scorn on the election of Mr Bush and highlighted some embarrassing incidents from his past.

Backed by music worthy of a horror movie, Cuban state television showed pictures of the 150 prisoners whose death warrants were signed by Mr Bush while governor of Texas.

Cuban commentators drew attention to Mr Bush's poor academic record and his well-documented struggle with alcohol addiction. They also said that Mr Bush had won the presidency through a fraudulent vote that did not reflect the will of US citizens.

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