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Last Updated: Friday, 6 May, 2005, 15:12 GMT 16:12 UK
World media see 'bruised' Blair as victor

Newspapers across the globe attribute Labour's win in the UK elections to economic success at home, blaming voter dissatisfaction over the Iraq war for its much reduced majority.

Although the victory is widely labelled as "historic" for the Labour party, many focus on Gordon Brown, waiting in the wings to take over from Tony Blair as prime minister.


Europe

He's won - but on his knees... Tony Blair has achieved the dream of the third mandate, but lost around 100 seats in the meantime, too many not to think that his decline starts this morning.

Italy's La Stampa

The political price paid by Tony Blair for the unpopular war in Iraq and the lies to justify it seems... very high. Higher than expected... Brown, the undisputed mastermind of the economic success, has counterbalanced the negative effects of the unpopular war Blair wanted. And now Brown seems in a good position to replace Blair, maybe even before the end of the new parliament.

Italy's La Repubblica

Blair has survived - albeit with knocks and bruises and a weakened charisma - the third, dreadful electoral challenge. He has one last challenge left in order to remove a blot from the article the Encyclopaedia Britannica will dedicate to him, that of the doubts left by the war propaganda, when he talked about the Baghdad missiles "ready to strike in 45 minutes".

Italy's Corriere della Sera

The challenges awaiting the new team - within which the balance between "Blairites" and "Brownites" will be interesting to study - are numerous. The ratification of the European constitution... and a near-certain increase in taxes to fund an ambitious programme to modernise public services... should be the priorities of the next government.

France's Le Monde

Labour owes its success as much to Gordon Brown as it does to Tony Blair. The prime minister was wise enough to recognise this and to push his likely successor to the front-line of the campaign.

France's Le Figaro

[This third successive term in office] is a "first" for Labour, even if this Labour Party bears absolutely no resemblance to old Labour... How can this success be explained? The first explanation is that there is no alternative... But the second explanation is down to the track record of Tony Blair, and of his finance minister and likely successor Gordon Brown in particular.

France's Le Nouvel Observateur

Absent from the election campaign, Europe will make a strong return to the British political debate. Tony Blair... will have great difficulty next year in persuading his countrymen to adopt the European constitution through a referendum. A negative vote in France would ruin his chances of pulling it off and would reinforce the hand of Gordon Brown, who does not like the euro at all, and the EU very little.

France's Ouest-France

Blair, but less of him... The contrast between the dynamism of the British economy and the doldrums in the rest of the EU spared Tony Blair from paying a high price for the credibility he lost... justifying the war. But the prime minister knows that his image has been dented and losses at the polls may lead to... his resignation in favour of his greatest friend, greatest rival and star of the campaign, Gordon Brown.

Spain's El Periodico

The Conservatives have proved incapable of presenting an alternative for young people and the most dynamic sectors, while Blair has known how to capitalise on his indisputable charisma.

Spain's El Mundo

Blair did not sink even when, out of a deep conviction and with an eloquent defence - he chose to intervene in Iraq, despite the opposition of a majority of voters.

Portugal's Publico

Tony Blair's last big performance was far from brilliant. He held onto power, but lost voters' support.

Sweden's Aftonbladet

A year ago the majority of European media were busy predicting a series of electoral defeats for the statesmen behind the coalition which invaded Iraq... Australian Prime Minister John Howard would be the first to fall, followed by George Bush in the USA, then [Prime Minister] Fogh in Denmark and finally Blair in the United Kingdom... There is a lot to indicate that the voters judge these statesmen differently than journalists, editors and commentators.

Denmark's B.T.

Labour's third successive victory and under the same leader is "truly historic"... Rumours have it that Blair will soon cede his post to Chancellor Gordon Brown.

Poland's Rzeczpospolita

Mr Blair won on the strength of the economy despite the fact that he sent British children (teenaged soldiers) to the Iraq war and despite being worn-out after eight years in office.

Commentary in Turkey's Milliyet

Although he shared the first big "war crime" of the 21st century, the occupation of Iraq, with Bush, Blair won... By making the Labour Party stand upright again, Blair changed the traditional policy of the left.

Commentary in Turkey's Milliyet

Despite the victory, Blair is said to be politically wounded and will have a tough job convincing the British to back the EU Constitution in a referendum. The decision of the British to vote for the Labour Party, despite the unpopular war on Iraq is, on the other hand, recognition of a successful domestic policy.

Slovenia's Delo


Middle East

The [British] public was not satisfied with Blair's justification of the war... In reality, the issue had nothing to do with Iraq and had much to do with Blair's performance as a prime minister. This made the voters feel that their prime minister takes action without consulting his party or the government, except a clique of his advisers who popularise his decisions instead of expressing their views and making positive contribution.

Commentary in London-based Al-Hayat

US experts in the field of politics and opinion polls secretly joined in Blair's election campaign... The US experts also assisted Blair and his party in convincing British public opinion on the Iraq war.

London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi


Asia

Compared with eight years ago, Labour no longer has absolute superiority. Eight years of storms at 10 Downing Street have also worn down the once high-spirited Blair into a thin and pale Labour leader.

China's Wenhui Bao

Blair resolutely followed US President Bush's footsteps in 2003... despite a lack of concrete evidence on WMD and UN approval for launching the Iraq war... this greatly harmed his image in the eyes of the populace... Because people did not believe his excuses on the Iraq issue, it will be very hard for them to trust him again on the economy, society and other policies.

Commentary in Malaysia's Sin Chew Jit Poh

Tony Blair is no great prime minister and his popularity is dubious. In particular, there's been vigorous criticism of him over the Iraq war. But the situation in British politics today is such that Blair's victory is considered assured. Should this be regarded as a miracle? Not so, because what has been helping Blair politically is not so much his own efforts as the uselessness of opposition forces in Britain.

India's Navbharat Times


US

The Labour victory was bittersweet, coming after a campaign in which Mr Blair has been bruised by criticism over the war, shunned by some traditional followers as untrustworthy and denied a repetition of landslide victories in 1997 and 2001... But it was the war in Iraq - when critics depicted Mr Blair as a puppet of America - that damaged him the most, deepening the voters' mistrust.

The New York Times

Much of the Tories' trouble is due to the skill with which Blair has seized the political centre. He has run a tough, pro-American foreign policy while not interfering with a domestic economy that has produced 13 years of growth.

Commentary in the The Los Angeles Times

Much of the fire has gone out of the Blair project. But it's still the right project. And even those who have fallen out of love with Blair know it. That's why Britain's voters, while reducing Blair's majority, decided to give him one more chance.

Commentary in The Washington Post


Africa

Public anger and mistrust about him [Tony Blair], focused on Iraq, has been devastating to his election campaign. It has not been ramped up by the press or arrogant broadcasters. It has been present on every street in every constituency... The question is not whether he gives way to Brown, but when.

South Africa's Mail and Guardian


BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.




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