Feature

Voters punish Chirac

The week's news at a glance.

Paris

The center-right party of French President Jacques Chirac took a beating in local elections this week, leaving it with control of just two of France’s 22 regions. French voters overwhelmingly rejected the economic reforms of Chirac’s prime minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, who has made small cuts in the country’s generous pension, unemployment, and health benefits. But Chirac refused to fire Raffarin. Instead, he ordered the prime minister to create a new Cabinet. Raffarin said the unpopular reforms would continue “simply because they are necessary.”

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