European Press Review: Gandhi Bows Out | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 19.05.2004
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European Press Review: Gandhi Bows Out

European newspaper editorials on Wednesday focused on Sonia Gandhi’s announcement that she doesn’t want to be India’s next leader and on the International Olympic Committee’s short list choices for the 2012 games.

Britain’s The Independent thinks the real surprise isn’t that Italian-born Sonia Gandhi decided not to pursue the post of prime minister, but that she came as close as she did to the job. United States law does not allow a foreign-born president, nor does the paper believe that it would be possible in France or even her home country of Italy. That she was acceptable to so many – indeed that she won an election – is a tribute both to her personality and, of course, to her name.

But Rome’s Il Messaggero thinks she just wasn’t Indian enough for the nationalists. It regretted that now the largest democracy in the world isn’t going to be run by an Italian. The paper wrote that Gandhi, who was quite aware of nationalistic sensitivities towards her Italian heritage, tried her best to be and appear as Indian as possible.

Sonia Gandhi’s renunciation of the prime ministerial post has taken the wind out of her opponents’ sails, thinks Switzerland’s Berner Zeitung. At the same time it noted, the Italian will go down in Indian history as one of the few politicians who wasn’t obsessed with power and who led according to their feelings. And her followers will see this as well once they get over their disappointment.

Most German papers were devastated that Leipzig, a city in former East Germany, was dropped from the short list to host the 2012 Olympic Games. Many front pages have blown up pictures showing the dejection felt by the city’s citizens. In the end London, Madrid, Paris, Moscow and New York were chosen as the final candidate cities.

Many of the British papers on the other hand, didn’t even mention London’s success on the front page. And the Daily Telegraph said Paris is the clear winner. The paper highlights that London was often a poor third in nearly every category. London's The Guardian focused on how Rio de Janeiro was bumped out in favour of Moscow. Rio was considered to be a dark horse among the bidding cities due to the fact that South American has never staged the games.