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Monday, 17 June, 2002, 10:34 GMT 11:34 UK
French press in delight and despair
UMP supporters in Paris
Centre-right supporters are in jubilant mood
The right-leaning daily, Le Figaro, tries to conceal its satisfaction with the Frency election result under a mask of disbelief.


A five year sentence

Liberation headline
Who could have imagined it, the paper asks, when you think back to January, that the victory for the right could have been so emphatic?

The paper believes the auguries are good for the new prime minister, Jean Pierre Raffarin.

His conservative predecessor, Edouard Balladur, in 1993 had a huge majority but ran out of time. The last short-lived conservative prime minister, Alain Juppe, tried to do too much, too quickly.

Tears

What prompts delight in Le Figaro, prompts despair in Liberation - the newspaper of the left.

"A five year sentence," is its headline.

The paper's founder, Serge July, argues that the result was less an endorsement of the policies of the right, more an overwhelming rejection of the left.


I never thought this would be so tough

Martine Aubry
It was that, he says, which allowed the way to open for this reserve team, led by Jacques Chirac.

Picking over the rejection of the Socialists, the newspapers all alight on the tear-stained face of Martine Aubry.

She was the employment minister who brought in the 35-hour limit on the working week.

Her red-rimmed, swollen eyes squint from a number of photographs.


Chirac, they told us, would have the worst results of any president standing for re-election - in fact, he was re-elected with the biggest ever majority

Les Echos
The tabloid, Le Parisien, says she turned up at a restaurant in her constituency to announce to the press that she'd lost her seat by just a 1,000 votes.

She put defeat down to the poor and the excluded who thought that the Socialists hadn't done enough for them.

Her voice choked and she ran to find refuge in the toilets followed by a herd of photographers and cameramen.

Her parting words: "I never thought this would be so tough."

Anti-cohabitation mood

The centre-left Le Monde saw the poor turnout as one reason for the Socialists' poor showing.


What they expect is first and foremost a government which believes in the merits of its programme

La Tribune
"The Left did not manage to mobilise the people who abstained from voting in the first round as much as they had hoped. Once again, an exceptional number of voters chose to stay away from the polling stations," the newspaper said.

The financial daily, La Tribune, said a key factor was the French dissatisfaction with "cohabitation" - the strained coexistence of a conservative president and Socialist prime minister for the last five years.

"The French - at least those who voted - want no more cohabitation," the paper said.

"What they expect is first and foremost a government which believes in the merits of its programme. It must fulfil its promises without delay and outline clearly its longer-term plans."


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16 Jun 02 | Europe
17 Jun 02 | Europe
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