Le Figaro declares Bush 'big winner' in Iraqi vote

31st January 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 31 (AFP) - US President George W. Bush is "the big winner" of the Iraqi elections, which have raised the possibility of him withdrawing his troops, French newspapers said Monday.

PARIS, Jan 31 (AFP) - US President George W. Bush is "the big winner" of the Iraqi elections, which have raised the possibility of him withdrawing his troops, French newspapers said Monday.

The conservative daily Le Figaro said Bush had a victory by seeing the elections carried out at all, despite violence gripping Iraq, and that now several questions should be posed, among them: "And if, with this occasion, the Americans discover the beginning of an exit strategy?"

The presence of US troops was fuelling the insurgency even as ordinary Iraqis grew tired of the ongoing bloodshed to which they were subjected, it said, arguing that the elections now set the country on the right path.

"Ignorant of the world and blinded by their power, the Americans often only arrive at the right solution after having exhausted all the alternatives," Le Figaro said, paraphrasing Winston Churchill.

Liberation, a left-leaning newspaper, also hailed Sunday's polls held against all odds, saying the strong turnout revealed the insurgents as "a violent minority whose power to persuade or intimidate is exerted only on part of the Sunni minority."

The test for the government that is to be formed from the results will be to steer clear of a theocracy or a Shiite monopoly, and to negotiate with the Sunnis to avoid ethnic strife.

It also said the new Iraqi leaders must set about organising the rapid withdrawal of the foreign forces in their country because "more and more, they are part of the problem rather than the solution."

© AFP

Subject: French News

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