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Thursday, 20 June, 2002, 09:27 GMT 10:27 UK
French elections: Your reaction
President Jacques Chirac's centre-right coalition has won an overwhelming victory in the French elections.

The victory marks a significant blow for the French president's opponents on the left and sends Jean-Marie Le Pen's far-right National Front back to the political margins.

The French president, who begins assembling his government on Monday, has pledged to deliver large tax cuts, streamline the civil service, reform pensions and combat crime.

The UMP alliance won an overall majority with more than 392 seats in the national assembly, with 12 of the 577 constituencies yet to declare, while the Socialists and other left-wing parties won just 173. The National Front failed to take a single seat.

What is your reaction to the French election results? Do you think Mr Chirac's government can deliver on its promises? How significant is the National Front's defeat?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

You can hardly say the French have overwhelmingly voted in favour of Chirac considering the record low-turnout

Ian, UK
You can hardly say the French have overwhelmingly voted in favour of Chirac considering the record low-turnout. If anything the French voted out the Socialists because the last 5 years of "cohabitation" was holding back France. Another point was perhaps the French wanted a strong President to sort out France's economic problems, deal with illegal immigration. With the right-wing gaining ground in across Europe perhaps the liberal left should sit up and ask themselves why - because your PC nonsense has caused more harm than good and only contributed to the rise of extremism.
Ian, UK

Doesn't surprise me at all. After years of heavy socialist influence, the French people are sick of being overtaxed, underemployed, and unable to compete with the big boys because of crippling labour laws. This "shift" to the right is just part of a natural cycle for free and democratic nations. America was ready for a change too after 8 years of Bill Clinton.
Rich, USA

It is time for France and the UK to lead the world to a new democratic model. The old democratic systems are tired and corrupt. A fresh and modern look at democracy is needed if we are to engage the electorate and keep the extremists at bay
Allan, UK

Chirac's election is excellent news for France. The socialists, have further weakened the economy, as they invariably do, with well meaning, but naive, labour laws. Chirac now needs to be brave and "do a Thatcher" by leading EU reform, in labour laws which have become too restrictive - do you think Marks and Spencer will be rushing back to invest in France without radical change? Tax cuts provide an incentive to work and create real jobs which socialist protectionism always promises, but equally always fails to deliver.
Cliff UK, UK

It follows the general trend towards making corporations and globalization first, people last. Trans-national corporations now control all western governments. Ordinary people need to take back the power to control governments and to control corporations.
Mark Le Schack, USA

A couple years back I had a boss who moved his entire company from France to the USA basically because French Socialist policies (and EU bureaucracy) made the concept of "growth" for a start up company as he said "nearly impossible." He didn't want to move, but reality was self evident. I shall shed no tears for the downfall of the French Socialists, good riddance.
Stephen, USA

Chirac is going to be a disaster for most ordinary French workers

M Crosland, The Netherlands
Chirac is going to be a disaster for most ordinary French workers. He is promising to line the pockets of the rich with tax cuts, throw public sector workers on the scrap heap, and 'reform' pensions - which in right-wing parlance means doing away with state-provided/subsidised pensions. As in the Netherlands and elsewhere, a right-wing government has come to power on the back of whipped-up anti-immigration hysteria.
M Crosland, The Netherlands

The French right's victory is due to people's fears of getting Jean Marie Le Pen elected. But in the end right-wing parties all over the world follow the same bankrupt policies of giving tax cuts to the rich, and reducing public expenditure by cutting social spending. This is hardly what France needs today, and unless Chirac can change some fundamental assumptions of the right-wing view of the world, he too will be a failure.
Robert Fawkes Jenkins, UK

The country needs this new government. On an economic level, France is one of the most backward nations in the EU. The socialist government enforced a law preventing big firms from dismissing workers thus minimising France's competitiveness. The French right wing has nothing to do with the British Conservative Party. The French right wing wants to preserve our social security, our public transports but also wants France to be a modern nation, definitively liberating our nation from the Socialist trend that has been so strong and destructive for French employment over the last 20 years.
Olivier Catel, France

So terrified of electing a fascist, France has chosen a man that many regard as less than honest for president. French workers have my sympathy. They have just voted for job cuts on a massive scale, just as Britain did with Thatcher. We are still paying for that mistake. Fortunately, French politics has no more international relevance than French football!
Tom, UK

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