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Swiss press worried by Bush re-election

The Swiss press finds Bush's re-election worrying swissinfo.ch

The Swiss press is concerned that the re-election of President Bush could have negative consequences for both the United States and Europe.

This content was published on November 4, 2004 - 07:46

Many commentators warned that the next four years would be marked by a deepening transatlantic gulf.

Bush declared victory on Wednesday after his challenger, the Democrat, John Kerry, admitted defeat.

Bush has since outlined a conservative social and economic agenda for the next four years, while also underlining the continuing need to fight terrorism. In his speech, Kerry called for the country to work together.

Some newspapers made no secret of the fact that they were disappointed with the result.

“Are 62 million Americans simply stupid?” asked the tabloid “Blick” in its front-page headline.

But others were more worried by the fact that Bush’s re-election could lead to a more hard-hitting US foreign policy.

The French-language “La Liberté” said that the Republicans would now be able to continue their unilateral foreign policy regardless of the international community.

But the “Berner Zeitung” went further, saying that Bush was convinced that he had a Christian mission to fulfil and this, combined with power, was a “dangerous mix”.

Europe

Some newspapers commented on the future of the - already shaky – relationship between the US and Europe.

The Zurich-based “Tages-Anzeiger” suggested that Bush would make changes in internal and social policy which would further distance the US from the secular Europeans.

And the Geneva-based “Le Temps” said Bush’s policies were only likely to benefit the rich and the religious.

The “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” (NZZ) made the point that although Bush was not popular in Europe, he had strengthened his position at home.

“President Bush has this time definitely and incontestably won and fought off the Democrat onslaught,” said the newspaper.

But it also drew attention to the fact that the second term of office is traditionally difficult for US presidents. But the paper added that Bush at least has a majority in Congress, unlike his predecessors Clinton, Reagan and Nixon.

The NZZ also raised the question of whether Hillary Rodham Clinton, the senator and wife of former Democrat president, Bill Clinton, would run for president in the next elections.

Swiss-US relations

Switzerland’s future relationship with the US is also considered.

Writing in the Blick, Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey said that even before the elections she had argued that US policy was not likely to change fundamentally in the future.

Since September 11, the Americans had been worried about security issues and this would not change, she wrote.

But this would not prevent Switzerland from collaborating with the US in areas of mutual interest.

“We will continue to clearly say to the US what we think,” stressed the foreign minister.

swissinfo, Isobel Leybold-Johnson

In brief

The Swiss have been unenthusiastic about Bush's re-election.

Three of Switzerland’s four main political parties say they are disappointed.

The business community called on Bush to act in a fiscally responsible way.

Security and political experts expressed fear that Bush’s victory would be divisive - internationally and in the US.

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