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Monday, 17 June, 2002, 12:16 GMT 13:16 UK
French right knocks out big names
Former employment minister Martine Aubry
Former minister Martine Aubry suffered a shock defeat
The French election has wiped some of the country's biggest personalities from the political map.

Maverick former Interior Minister, Jean-Pierre Chevenement, was among the highest-profile victims to lose his seat on the National Assembly.

Only a few months ago he was having a crack at the presidency, with initial opinion polls showing him riding high and challenging the two frontrunners.

Jean-Pierre Chevenement
Robert Hue
Martine Aubry
Pierre Moscovici
Dominique Voynet
Raymond Forni
Now he is out of the National Assembly - beaten 53-47% by a right-wing candidate - and for the time being at least, is out of national politics.

His only remaining public office is as Mayor of Belfort, in the Territoires de Belfort constituency he used to represent in parliament.

Communist Party leader Robert Hue, who has headed his party since 1994, lost his seat in Val D'Oise in the north of Paris.

He was edged out by only 244 votes by the UMP's Georges Mothron, and bitterly blamed his defeat on National Front supporters throwing their weight behind his rival.

Mr Hue's only consolation is that his party scraped past the margin needed to be recognised as a formal parliamentary group, achieving 23 seats.

Chevenement is shown election results  in Belfort
Jean-Pierre Chevenement was ousted from parliament
Former Employment Minister Martine Aubry, daughter of former European Commission president Jacques Delors, also made a shock exit.

She was barely able to hold back her tears as the results came through in the northern town of Lille.

She was beaten by unknown right-wing candidate Sebastien Huyghe.

Ms Aubry was a key figure in the creation of the 35-hour working week, which, despite being a pillar of the Socialists' 1997 election manifesto, proved unpopular with many business leaders when implemented.

Her defeat came despite the fact that she had led the field after the first round of voting. But in the second round, Mr Huyghe snatched 51% of the votes, just enough to ease out the former minister.

She will remain in public life in her other role, as Mayor of Lille.

Former European Affairs Minister Pierre Moscovici crashed out in his eastern constituency in Doubs, where he had taken 58% of the vote in 1997. This time, UMP candidate Irene Tharin took the seat for the right.

Communist leader Robert Hue casts his vote
Robert Hue is out but his party avoided worst-case scenario
The Socialist president of the National Assembly, Raymond Forni, and the Greens' Dominique Voynet - a former Environment Minister - also made their exits.

The mayor of Montpellier, Georges Freche, Louis Mexandeau and Marisol Touraine were among other high-profile victims.

The end of the whole election process also created another "loser" - radical farmer Jose Bove.

His outstanding jail term for wrecking a McDonalds restaurant was not implemented ahead of the election to avoid undue controversy.

He said on Monday he had finally received the order to begin his sentence.

He is due to attend Villeneuve les Maguelonne jail near Montpellier on Wednesday to begin his three-month term.

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See also:

16 Jun 02 | Europe
17 Jun 02 | Europe
16 Jun 02 | Europe
16 Jun 02 | UK Politics
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