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Monday, 22 April, 2002, 22:14 GMT 23:14 UK
Le Pen stuns French voters
Thousands demonstrate in Paris against Jean-Marie Le Pen
Many view Le Pen's success as a "wake-up call"
Voters in Paris have been telling BBC News Online's Sheila Barter how they feel about the shock success of far-right politician Jean-Marie Le Pen in the first round of the French presidential elections.

Rania Hassan-Abbas, student at Marcel Marceau mime school

Rania Hassan-Abbas

"I think Le Pen's victory is something positive.

"I am against him, but we could not continue with the same old situation, left against right, with everyone just offering the same policies.

"This is a bit of a warning, a wake-up call. All young people are sick of politics, but perhaps this will wake them up."

Steve Gavois, soldier

"I was really shocked at Le Pen's victory. It's dangerous. I didn't vote - all the politicians make promises and nothing happens."

Steve Gavois

"Even after Le Pen's success I don't regret not voting. Chirac will win the second round, and would probably have won anyway."

"I think it was the issue of crime that did it for Le Pen."

'An angry young man' - as he described himself

"Le Pen has suggested solutions to the problems of crime, and of young people in the suburbs.

"The other candidates didn't give enough attention to it, but Le Pen really focused on it."

"He is very intelligent - he knew the people were waiting for a future president who would tackle the problem."

Gabriel Mrejen, shopkeeper

"People thought they could vote in the first round just to express themselves, and then vote for their real choice in the second round.

Gabriel Mrejen

"If you add up all the votes for the left, they would have given Jospin enough to go through. It's an accident that Le Pen went through.

"But I can understand people voting for Le Pen - they are fed up with crime, with being insulted in the street, and there are problems with foreigners in the south.

"I didn't support him but I understand the result. If you want democracy you have to accept the people's decision."

Danielle Montoudis, pancake seller

"It is a very nasty surprise.

Danielle Montoudis

"I didn't think it was possible, and I still can't quite believe it."

"Everyone will vote for Chirac in the second round, even those who don't like him will have to vote for him. I hope they will anyway."

Anonymous woman

"I am ashamed and angry."

Michel Baudon, teacher

Michel Baudon

"I am absolutely astonished, (but) when you start analysing it, it makes more sense, because people are worried about crime and social problems.

"I am sure Chirac will win - all of France has already realised it must vote for him, (but) we need a new revolution - revolutionary France cannot allow the resurgence of fascism."

Bruno Rolland, self employed

"It was a democratic accident. People didn't realise that by voting Green or radical left-wing they would end up without the mainstream left in the second round.

Bruno Rolland

"It is not a boost for the far-right, (although) some people who didn't vote are feeling guilty.

"It might be a blessing in disguise - this will be a sign for people to get more involved. This time there was no real election debate at all, and it failed to get people excited."

Anonymous woman

"I voted for Le Pen because I don't want him to become the new president but I want the government to realise that there is a deep problem with crime."

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See also:

22 Apr 02 | Europe
22 Apr 02 | Africa
22 Apr 02 | Europe
22 Apr 02 | UK Politics
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