Why the French shouldn't relax after Chirac's win.

Why the French shouldn't relax after Chirac's win.

Opinions about events beyond our borders.
May 6 2002 1:55 PM

He'll Be Back

M. Le Pen is down but not out.

(Continued from Page 1)

Here we come again upon the pattern which has haunted French history since the Revolution, a pattern in which the political class or elite loses touch with popular opinion, only finally to be called to account by widespread civil unrest, if not revolution.

My worry is this: If people's fears about immigration, crime, and national identity are not addressed in the next few years of President's Chirac's tenure, there may not be "widespread civil unrest," but there may well be an even larger vote for Le Pen next time around. There is no reason France's politicians shouldn't be relieved by Chirac's triumph—but the events of the past two weeks are no excuse for renewed complacency either.

Anne Applebaum is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. Her most recent book is Iron Curtain: the Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956.

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