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Monday, 6 May, 2002, 15:42 GMT 16:42 UK
Chirac victory in quotes
French newspapers, 6 May
The French press: Relief tempered with soul-searching
Many French voters breathed a sigh of relief after the crushing defeat of far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen. But commentators agree that President Jacques Chirac still faces a formidable task in wooing alienated voters before next month's parliamentary elections.

President Jacques Chirac: I have heard and understood what the French people have said. It is time for us to regain a sense of action in the service of all French people. It is time for us to respond to the rise in violence and restore the authority of the republican state...
[The republic] ... has refused to give in to the temptation of intolerance and demagoguery...

Jean-Marie Le Pen: It is indeed a bitter defeat for French hopes. That said, we have a better result than we had in the first round. Jacques Chirac's victory is ambiguous, gained using Soviet methods with all the forces in the country - social, political, economic, the media, etc.

Interim Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin: We have to make action a priority in France. For a long time politicians have been inefficient ... We need to have concrete policies... We have a country which loves ideology, and we need pragmatism.

Socialist Party Secretary-General Francois Hollande: The republic needs more than a rejection or a blockade. It requires more than an attitude... It requires hope and a movement to convey it and that is now our responsibility.

Patrick Devedjian, spokesman for President Chirac's Rally for the Republic (RPR): If the left won (the forthcoming parliamentary election) we would be back to square one. There would be no real commitment to change and it would be as if we had not learned the lesson of the first round.

Conservative daily Le Monde: The president seems, in a sense, to be the hostage of his victory. It is clear for all to see what the French rejected in the second round. But we do not yet know by whom, how, and for what they want to be governed. That is for 16 June.

Right-wing daily Le Figaro: Rarely has national cohesion seemed so weak, rarely has the country's future seemed so uncertain.

Left-wing daily Liberation: In the space of two weeks French society en masse transformed the second round of the presidential election into a referendum on democratic values - in favour of a fraternal and open society, dialogue and respect, economic and social modernisation, a European France.

See also:

06 May 02 | Europe
Uncertain road ahead for Chirac
06 May 02 | Europe
In pictures: Chirac's victory
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