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The paper clip, 7 May

Monday 7 May 2012

The French elections dominate the European papers today, but Greece's parliamentary elections also receive widespread coverage. The parties that participated in an emergency government tasked with passing austerity measures were “routed” at the ballot box, the Guardian writes. “This is a message of change, a message to Europe that a peaceful revolution has begun,” said Alexis Tsipras, who heads Syriza, a coalition of left and green groups that took 16.6% of the vote. The UK's Daily Telegraph says the “shattering of the political status quo [has thrown] into doubt Greece's commitment to meeting the terms of its debt and could spread instability throughout the eurozone”. Greece's Kathimerini writes that Antonis Samaras, leader of the centre-right New Democracy party, the winner of the election, will have “the first go” at forming a government from the highly fragmented political scene.

Poland's Gazeta Wyborcza gives a large amount of space to today's inauguration of Vladimir Putin as president of Russia, a position he held from 2000 to 2008. Protesters clashed with riot police in Moscow yesterday on the eve of Putin's return to the presidency, the Guardian writes. It says at least six protesters and three police officers needed hospital treatment, and dozens more were slightly injured as protesters pelted officers with beer bottles and rocks.

Gazeta Wyborcza also gives prominence to a mounting campaign for the release of Yulia Tymoshenko, the jailed former prime minister of Ukraine, who claims that she has been beaten by prison guards.

The UK's papers digest the impact of local elections as well as the re-election of London's mayor, Boris Johnson. In the Daily Telegraph, Prime Minister David Cameron writes “I get the message – but reform takes time”, as the headline puts it. People want to know that we're not just a bunch of accountants, he writes. Cameron's Conservative Party suffered heavy losses, while its partners in government – the Liberal Democrats – were decimated. The Liberal Democrat's leader, Nick Clegg, writes in the Guardian that the coalition is stable and the centre will hold. The coalition is not about to lurch to the left or the right, he writes.

The Financial Times writes that there are few sparks in a sputtering US recovery. What many hoped was a return to growth is looking like another summer of hibernation, it states.

Boris Johnson's re-election as mayor has reignited speculation that he could be poised to succeed Cameron. Johnson is more popular than Cameron, but that will not make him a prime minister, writes a commentator in the Independent.

Lloyds Banking Group, which is part-owned by the British taxpayer, is involved in a row over its investment in a company accused of involvement in the rendition of terror suspects on behalf of the CIA. The Guardian has the story. 

US President Barack Obama has launched his campaign for re-election, the Guardian writes. Obama told supporters in Ohio to remember his 2008 message of “hope and change” but said the November election will be close.

Gazeta Wyborcza writes that Annette Schavan is the latest leading German politician to have been accused of plagiarism in her doctoral thesis. She is Germany's science minister.

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