Voters smack down Bush over Iraq: French press

9th November 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Nov 9, 2006 (AFP) - US voters "branded" US President George W. Bush and his Republicans with the failure of the Iraq occupation, the French press said Thursday, forecasting that changes were now likely in US foreign policy.

PARIS, Nov 9, 2006 (AFP) - US voters "branded" US President George W. Bush and his Republicans with the failure of the Iraq occupation, the French press said Thursday, forecasting that changes were now likely in US foreign policy.

"This defeat is really (Bush's) defeat — the fiasco of the Iraq invasion and its consequences have been branded on his forehead with a red-hot iron," wrote a columnist in the left-wing L'Humanite.

"The Democrats force Bush to bend," the daily Libération said.

"Bush sacrifices Rumsfeld," the conservative Le Figaro titled its front page.

The reaction in France was especially swift, and a touch gloating, as the animosity between Paris and Washington over the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq was remembered.

"Those who live by the sword, die by the sword," the left-wing Libération opined as it announced US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's resignation.

"Rumsfeld, who more than anybody thought up and ran the war in Iraq, has paid with his job for the impasse in which this war has placed the United States," it said.

The dilemma over what to do with Iraq after such a resounding voter smackdown means "Bush's descent into hell is just beginning," it said.

Le Figaro agreed.

"He has exhausted his political capital and his options are not many," wrote one of the paper's columnists.

But a regional paper, La République du Centre, said Bush and his Republicans have a chance to recover from the election defeat, speculating that "voters wanted to punish but not humiliate him."

The Democrats would prove cooperative with the White House on Iraq, it asserted.

Other newspapers noted that the next big electoral battle in the United States — that of the presidency — meant the two parties would likely avoid stalemating the political process.

"Frontal opposition with the executive is probably not the best option (for the Democrats) to retake the White House in two years," noted a columnist in the La Tribune business newspaper.

"The head of the White House remains the ultimate master of the game... his right to veto, in particular, allows him to reject draft laws," Le Parisien said.

Les Echos newspaper warned against falling for predictions of a "total paralysis" in the United States, but noted "the president's margin for manoeuvre is limited."

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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