Voters say 'yes, but' to reforms with election

18th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 18, 2007 (AFP) - French voters sent President Nicolas Sarkozy a warning over pushing too far and fast with his reform programme by denying him a widely predicted landslide in legislative elections, French newspapers said Monday.

PARIS, June 18, 2007 (AFP) - French voters sent President Nicolas Sarkozy a warning over pushing too far and fast with his reform programme by denying him a widely predicted landslide in legislative elections, French newspapers said Monday.

Polls had widely predicted a "blue wave" would sweep Sarkozy's right-wing Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) into a dominating position in the National Assembly with as many as 400 seats the 577-member lower house of parliament.

In the end the UMP won just 314 seats in Sunday's election, 45 fewer than in the outgoing parliament, while the opposition Socialist Party made a surprise comeback, jumping from 149 to 185 seats.

Sarkozy who won the presidential election last month on a programme to modernise French government, kickstart the economy and toughen up crime and immigration laws, had sought a solid parliamentary majority to implement his reforms.

The conservate Le Figaro called the vote the "Yes, But of the French" to Sarkozy's reforms in the headline to its story.

"What happened yesterday was certainly not a defeat for Nicolas Sarkozy because Nicolas Sarkozy has a clear majority, but it certainly is a warning," wrote the paper.

Talk during the past week of a possible hike in value-added tax rates to fund healthcare costs may have caused concern among some voters.

Le Figaro said the gains made by the Socialists from the first round of voting one week ago "...is ample proof that if the French have adopted the idea of reform they aren't ready to accept those which haven't been amply considered..."

The Tribune business daily noted that many Sarkozy supporters had probably taken victory for granted and not voted, while the opposition was fired up, but agreed the result was a warning for the government.

"The French have indeed chosen reform, but have addressed their first warning to the president," wrote the conservative daily.

The left-wing Liberation was more dramatic.

"The Right-Wing Takes a Left Hook," screamed the daily's headline.

"Voters signalled their objection to a monochrome parliament and total power conferred in one person," the paper concluded.

"Voters refused to give the party of Nicolas Sarkozy the blank cheque it demanded," wrote the left-wing Humanite.

"The UMP hoped for a blue wave that would give it 400 seats and give it wider room for manoeuvre over the next five years. The situation is now reversed," it concluded.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article