Socialists Say Supporters Must Accept Sarkozy | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 08.05.2007
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Socialists Say Supporters Must Accept Sarkozy

The head of France's Socialist Party, Francois Hollande, called for restraint after another night of destruction by people upset over the outcome of Sunday's presidential election. Around a hundred youths were arrested.

A riot police officer argues with a protester during a demonstration at the Place de la Bastille in Paris

The situation between police and protestors was tense

Hollande made his appeal on Tuesday in Paris, saying that, although disappointment and frustration at Conservative Nicolas Sarkozy's election was running high, the only means to effect change in a democracy was through the ballot.

"Everyone who indulges in these acts of violence only does those people a service who want more order and strictness," Hollande said on RTL-Radio. "But we need dialogue and respect instead of violence," he added.

During the night, a crowd of some 200 youths clashed with police in Paris' Place de la Bastille. They broke windows, destroyed telephone booths and set four cars on fire. Similar incidents were reported in the cities of Lyon, Lille, Toulouse, Rennes and Nantes.

But the unrest was less than the night before, which saw 730 vehicles torched and 592 people arrested.

Sarkozy angered many in 2005 when, as interior minister, he referred to rioting youth in France's poor, largely minority, suburban housing projects as "rabble" and "scum."

Recuperation in Malta

French President-elect Nicolas Sarkozy smiles

Sarkozy is regrouping before assuming his new office

Meanwhile, the president-elect was taking a brief vacation in Malta to recover from the campaign and plan strategy for when he takes office on May 16.

High on Sarkozy's agenda will be the appointment of a cabinet and most importantly a prime minister. Former Social Affairs Minister Francois Fillon and current Employment and Social Cohesion Minister Jean-Louis Borloo have both been tipped for that post.

Sarkozy also plans to draft an initial package of reforms to present to the French National Assembly. They include cuts in France's inheritance tax, rules mandating that the jobless to accept work offered to them, and a minimum service guarantee during transportation strikes -- measures all likely to attract the ire of French trade unions.

Stony silence from Russia

French President Jacques Chirac, center, Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Sarkozy's election could end a period of close Russian-French-German cooperation

French youths are not the only ones displeased by Sarkozy's triumph. Russia has thus far refused to offer the customary congratulations usually offered to new heads of state.

The Kremlin has issued no official reaction at all to the election. But the pro-government newspaper Izvestia wrote that a Sarkozy presidency could negatively impact French-Russian relations.

The paper objected to the fact that lawmaker Pierre Lellouche, a critic of Russia's war against separatist rebels in Chechnya, was one of Sarkozy's major advisors. Lellouche was "particularly malicious toward Russia," Izvestia wrote, adding that it would be "catastrophic" if he were appointed France's foreign minister.

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