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Monday, 17 June, 2002, 11:12 GMT 12:12 UK
Centre-right on rise, says Hague
Former Tory leader William Hague
Mr Hague says the centre are on the march again
President Chirac's election win in France is in line with a wider trend that has seen the centre-right triumph in Italy, the US and Spain, William Hague has said.

The former Conservative leader comparing his trouncing at the hands of New Labour last year with the US elections in 1996.


I think that people were not readily accepting of the government's failure on public services a couple of years ago - even this time last year

William Hague
Former US president Bill Clinton won his second term at a point where American voters still had expectations the Democrats could deliver, Mr Hague said.

Speaking after last week's meeting of the International Democrat Union (IDU) Mr Hague said disillusionment with New Labour was setting in "so I think our next election will be more like the US election of 2000 - I certainly hope so".

Mr Hague - who chaired the IDU meeting in Washington - told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that while he had tried to tackle a number of issues at a given time his successor, Iain Duncan Smith, was trying to stick to one issue at a time.

"I think the bigger factor is there are now issues we can successfully campaign on which we couldn't campaign on before.

"I think that people were not readily accepting the government's failure on public services a couple of years ago - even this time last year."

Mr Hague said that the common campaign theme of the centre-right had become "quality of life issues".

Co-habitation

"Left-wing governments - despite economic growth - are not delivering improvements in the quality of life and the centre-right parties are therefore able to take their territory from them and that's what Iain is trying to do and I believe he will succeed."

President Jacques Chirac
President Chirac has triumphed in the French polls
The former Tory leader added that while he welcomed President Chirac's victory there were special circumstances in France that set the result apart to some extent.

"Undoubtedly one of the reasons people voted for President Chirac's allies is to give him a big majority after a prolonged period of divided government ... nevertheless the broad Conservative family that met in Washington last week are doing increasingly well," he said.

See also:

09 Jun 02 | UK Politics
21 Nov 01 | Europe
10 Jun 02 | UK Politics
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