French press divided over Bush victory

4th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Nov 4 (AFP) - French newspaper commentators on Thursday saw in George W. Bush's re-election victory confirmation of profound cultural change in the United States, but some expressed the hope that his second term will take on a different complexion from the first.

PARIS, Nov 4 (AFP) - French newspaper commentators on Thursday saw in George W. Bush's re-election victory confirmation of profound cultural change in the United States, but some expressed the hope that his second term will take on a different complexion from the first.

The left-wing press was in mourning, the Communist daily L'Humanite headlining with "Nasty times ahead" above a picture of a disconsolate Democratic party supporter. In a play on words in French, Liberation newspaper splashed: "The empire gets worse."

For Liberation's editorialist Patrick Sabatier, the rest of the world must come to terms with the fact that the US is not the country it hoped it was.

"Continental" America - the US outside the seaboards and the great lakes area - had asserted its presence.

"A new reactionary majority has rallied round Bush in a reflex born of war and cemented his hold over American democracy. The rest of the world may deplore it but it will have to adapt to this reality," he said.

Claude Canades in L'Humanite was more grim. "It is disastrous news for the world. An America that is conservative, war-like, fanatical and backward-looking is at the controls for the next four years," he wrote.

The conservative press was less apocalyptic, and urged the government to seize the opportunity of Bush's re-election to put transatlantic relations on a new footing.

"The world according to George W. Bush may well be very different in his second term from his first four years. The moment must be seized immediately to re-establish trusting relations with America," Le Figaro newspaper said.

"Experience shows that re-election can transform a president. A first term is often directed solely towards the electoral rendezvous which comes at its conclusion. But once re-elected, a president's only concern is his place in history," it said.

The financial daily Les Echos said that the Republican victory "confirms the steady estrangement between America and Europe ... America is no longer the dynamic extension of bored, divided Europe. It is a world unto itself."

But it also expressed the hope that a sober assessment of the country's difficulties in Iraq and over its budget deficit will encourage a shift in Bush's thinking for the next four years.

"George Bush's victory worries the European masses but it is not impossible that the difficulties of the coming years lead the US to rediscover the need for a rapprochement with old Europe ... From each side of the Atlantic, who will make the first gesture of appeasement?" it said.

Le Parisien newspaper published an opinion poll showing that nearly two thirds of the French believe Bush's re-election to be a "bad thing." More than 80 percent thought the second term would either fail to improve or further damage the already poor Franco-US relationship.

 

© AFP

Subject: French News

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