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 Frances 22 regions. French voters overwhelmingly rejected the economic reforms of Chiracs prime minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, who has made small cuts in the countrys 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.