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Last Updated: Saturday, 31 July, 2004, 12:43 GMT 13:43 UK
Kerry fails to convince press
John Kerry points to supporters
After the razzmatazz, the hard part is about to begin

Despite a strong performance at the Democratic Party's convention in Boston, US presidential challenger John Kerry has still to convince the world's press that he has a good chance of beating George W Bush in November's elections.

A recurring theme in the European press is that Mr Kerry needs to polish up his personal charisma a bit more if he wants to persuade his compatriots that he has what it takes to be president.

In both Europe and the Middle East, most papers feel that the differences between Mr Kerry's policies and those of President Bush are too narrow for him to represent a compelling alternative.

The hardest part still lies ahead: to put across the message that he is made of the stuff of presidents and has the stature of a commander-in-chief...

Most of all Kerry needs to prove to millions of his still undecided compatriots that there is a real difference between himself and Bush.

France's Liberation

The doubts raised by the Bush administration's methods in Iraq, and the disappointments of the occupation, serve Kerry better than clear-cut speeches... In many respects, Kerry's best asset remains Bush himself. And by refraining from coming out clearly on Iraq, Kerry is allowing "Bush to beat Bush".

But the antipathy among a section of US opinion to Bush has not yet been converted into enthusiasm for John Kerry, and the candidate remains more respected than liked, even among Democratic voters.

France's Le Figaro

Now the convention has been wound up, the hour of truth is beginning for Kerry, starting out with the opinion polls placing him on a par with President Bush... The polls show that Kerry continues to be little known by Americans.

In presidential elections in the USA, the perceived character of the candidate counts for more than his political programme. Spectacular party conventions do not change the opinion of the voters substantially. Before George Bush's followers take New York next month for their great spectacle, Kerry will have to surpass himself to reach a sceptical nation, and in particular its millions of undecided voters, with his ideas.

Spain's El Pais

Convention speeches are not for facing up to difficult subjects; they are a compulsory step to tell people about the alternative and to give courage and hope to the voters.

The Democratic Party, often divided, has shown itself more united than ever, galvanised by the idea that any candidate would be better than another four years with Bush, but already convinced that Kerry is their man.

Spain's El Mundo

Having chosen Kerry, the Democrats are betting on an assumption that America is living in the post-11 September world. And in that case - if the Americans decide in favour of a change in the White House - they will want the replacement to be experienced in high politics and above all in foreign affairs.

Czech Republic's Hospodarske Noviny

To a great degree there is no Democratic party candidate John Kerry. There is an abstract "anti-Bush" candidate who has been compelled, in accordance with the US electoral system, to take on human form and assume a human name...

The weakness of his positive programme, his sombre mien, so unusual for an American... and finally, his unique, from the American point of view, potential first lady, create the impression that Kerry is not destined for victory at all.

Sergei Lopatnikov in Russia's Russky Kuryer

Assuming Kerry wins, there will be no radical changes in US policy. There were none under Bush, either. Let's look at their election manifestos. The differences between them are only in the nuances. They are treading the same old ground.

Sergei Rogov in Russia's Moskovsky Komsomolets

We can look at the two horses that are competing for the US presidency as two faces of the same coin in regard to the central Arab and Muslim issue, which is the Palestinian cause. It is not possible to hope for more if the Democrats' nominee takes over from the incumbent.

Saudi Arabia's Al-Jazirah

What fruit will the Arabs and Palestinians reap from the victory of the USA's Democratic Party nominee, John Kerry, in the US presidential elections? They will harvest nothing, other than bitterness and offences of US policies, which are bent on serving the Zionists' and Israeli lobby... Bush and Kerry have no differences in their love for Israel, but each of them has his own way of expressing it.

UAE's Al-Bayan

Whether Bush remains in the White House or it is taken over by Kerry, the political ideologies in the USA remain intact. What may change are the tactics and strategies.

Oman's Al-Watan

US Senator John Kerry announced at the Democratic Party's convention in Boston that he has accepted the party's nomination to challenge current President George Bush in the forthcoming US presidential elections in November. This means the hot race to the White House has officially begun...

A big portion of the world's future and its stability is in the hands of US voters, who will have the option to choose between two clearly different pictures regarding the future of America and that of the world.

Egypt's Al-Ahram

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

The BBC's Daniel Lak
"President Bush is now back on television"

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