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Press: 'Time for brutal medicine'

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Nicolas Sarkozy's French presidential victory was unequivocally seen as a vote for sweeping change by Europe's press, although some papers viewed the new president with suspicion.

The International Herald Tribune listed negative comments made about Sarkozy in the run-up to the election, including that he is "arrogant" and "brutal", as well as describing him as "one of the most polarizing figures to move into Élysée Palace in the postwar era."

The paper praised the new president for his "brash manner and strong oratory style," also pointing out that he is "nakedly ambitious, pragmatic and calculating and not beyond betrayal to reach his goals," comparing him to Napoleon and Louis XIV.

In the UK, The Guardian described Sarkozy as having a "reputation as the man who gets things done," and predicts early action from the new leader. It claims "the French have not voted in a man they particularly like... France has voted in a president it feel it needs."

The Times described Sarkozy's election as a "real break... in French politics" saying his "aim is to get the country moving again, banish its malaise and re-establish it as a strong, confident and co-operative Western power."

In Germany, Sueddeutsche Zietung reported, following the election of Sarkozy, France had moved "further to the right."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung described the new president as "a man who as interior minister made his mark with controversial statements and who is pleading for wide-spread reforms in French economic and social politics," and said that, for Germany, "dealing with France will not become any easier in the future."

Doubts over Sarkozy's leadership skills continued in Der Spiegel which stated he "acts like a unifier but his radical political and moral views could lead to wide-spread social conflicts."

UK tabloid, The Sun -- usually known for its critical eye on all things French --said that the new president "has his work cut out getting France back to work", claiming the French people "know it's time for brutal medicine.

The paper also praised the huge turnout for the election and the prominence of the head-to-head TV debate the two candidates took part in before the second round of voting.


    • Sarkozy: I have mandate for change
    • World leaders congratulate Sarkozy
    • Skirmishes flare after Sarkozy win



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