Raffarin returns to politics with Senate seat win

19th September 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 18 (AFP) - Three months after stepping down as prime minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin secured his return to national politics on Sunday by winning a seat in France's upper house of parliament.

PARIS, Sept 18 (AFP) - Three months after stepping down as prime minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin secured his return to national politics on Sunday by winning a seat in France's upper house of parliament.

As widely expected Raffarin, 57, easily won the special election for the Senate seat for the southeastern city of Vienne with 56.9 percent of the vote.

"I don't want to make a noisy political return. I support the government," said Raffarin after his election was confirmed.

The politician, who proved a deeply unpopular prime minister, was previously senator for Vienne from 1997 to 2002, but resigned his mandate when President Jacques Chirac put him in charge of the government in May 2002.

Chirac ended up replacing Raffarin with Dominique de Villepin after French voters rejected a referendum on adopting an EU constitution in May this year.

The Vienne senatorial election was made possible because the Raffarin loyalist who held the post resigned to make way for his return.

Raffarin has been widely talked about as a potential candidate to replace current Senate President Christian Poncelet, 77, when he steps down in 2008.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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