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11 Jun 2017

The world on Theresa May: She’s no ‘Iron Lady’

Harvey Day, Allan Hall, Peter Allen, and Gerard Couzens of Mailonline capture global media reaction to the electoral misadventure of British Prime Minister Theresa May
EUROPEAN press – led by the Germans – have been quick to mock Theresa May as the world reacts to the Conservative election disaster.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called on the Prime Minister to resign after she lost 12 seats across the country.
Newspapers across Europe have also discussed how the Tory defeat could impact Brexit negotiations which are due to begin on June 19.
Spiegel magazine, using German wordplay to compare her to Margaret Thatcher, called her instead ‘Die eiernde Lady’ – the wobbly lady.
It went on: ‘Britain’s Prime minister Theresa May has been playing poker – and has lost almost everything. After a memorable night, the country is politically paralyzed. And it’s completely unclear where it goes from here.
‘It is not stable any more – at least not for her job. So the tasks now are enormous: the government must organise the divorce process with the EU, for which there is no historical role model; It must tame the centrifugal forces in its own country and, in particular, look to Scotland and Northern Ireland to ensure that the United Kingdom remains a United Kingdom.
‘It must comply with almost unsustainable promises it has given itself, and take care not to torpedo the domestic economy.
‘It is a situation in which the country can actually use a strong and stable leader. Theresa May looked like this for a while. Two weeks ago, she was compared in the British media with the ‘Iron Lady’ Margaret Thatcher.
The Netherlands’ nrc.next (left) said: ‘May’s big gamble is wrong’ while Greece’s Ta Nea (right) includes a graphic with the United Kingdom inside one of Theresa May’s famous leopard print shoes
‘She’s only been a wobbly lady since Friday morning.’
There was a mocking tone to French coverage of the UK general election today as commentators said Britain was now weakened as it prepared for Brexit.
Le Figaro newspaper wrote: ‘Theresa May, who had called this poll with the sole purpose of strengthening her existing majority, was caught in her own trap.’
Italy’s Corriere della Sera, in its online headline, says: ‘Theresa’s gamble failed, she is no Margaret Thatcher.’
Another Italian paper La Repubblica says in its online headline: ‘May’s gamble fails, loses her majority.’
Germany’s Die Welt website simply says: ‘Conservatives lose majority – May speaks at 11 am.’
Denmark’s leading broadsheet Politiken said: ‘What now, UK? May went from Brexit Queen to disaster in seven weeks.’
Norway’s Klassekampen said: ‘Labor and Jeremy Corbyn have almost captured the lead to Theresa May before today’s election: They underestimated us.’
Germany’s best selling Bild newspaper said: ‘Will May resign today? Is there an exit before Brexit?’
‘Election quake in the UK! Theresa May has gambled  and her Tories lose an absolute majority, instead of being strengthened, from the election.
‘When the BBC’s first extrapolations were shown last night at a party in London’s Trafalgar Square, some guests stormed out of the room in fright. They too were sure that Theresa May would get a large majority in Parliament. In London it is known as MAY-DAY!
‘However, the hope of a withdrawal from the exit  that is, a departure from the Brexit  remains low. Rupert Harrison, former chief adviser of former Treasury secretary George Osborne and now fund manager at BlackRock, said to Bild: ‘A Conservative government will carry out the Brexit. There’s no going back. ‘
‘Nevertheless, with this election result, it is not easy for May to lead the negotiations with the EU out of a position of strength.’
It added: ‘An election debacle before the start of Brexit negotiations. Theresa May is facing an exit from her own party.
‘With the election she wanted to expand the parliamentary majority of her Conservative Party and win more tailwind for the Brexit negotiations with the EU.
‘But now she will probably lose her office. After the fantastic poll values of four weeks ago, this is a bitter slap for May!’
Die Welt declared: ‘Theresa May pays for her risky game.’ It condemned her campaign as a ‘disaster’ and also questioned how long she could remain in office.
‘Election disaster for May – what now for Brexit?’ asked the Merkur.de news website.
It went on: ‘MEPs are uneasy about the Brexit negotiations because of the weakness of the British Prime Minister Theresa May.
‘The time for a sensible negotiation of the British EU exit is very scarce, given the unclear leadership situation,’ said the Green Europe chief Reinhard Bütikofer.
‘The CDU MEP and Brexit expert Elmar Brok described Mays’s authority as severely damaged. ‘It is now very exciting for the negotiations,’ he said.
‘Hard Brexit? Soft Brexit? The message of the British electorate is not easy to decipher, given the unclear majority situation. It is clear that may does not have her own majority for her very tough negotiating line without any major concessions to the EU.
‘Will May be able to get a government that can vigorously defend its positions at the negotiating table at all? Will it be dependent on partners who bring more willingness to compromise? Are there even fresh elections planned and therefore a further month-long suspension?
‘Brussels is looking to the United Kingdom with unease.’
The Berliner Zeitung said: ‘Setback instead of tailwind: British Prime Minister Theresa May is standing in front of a pile of debris after the reelection that had been put forward on her initiative.
‘In Parliament the Conservatives lose their majority  the clear mandate they want for the Brexit negotiations with the European Union does not exist. No one knows whether, in these difficult circumstances, by March 2019, an orderly and all-enduring EU exit of the United Kingdom will indeed be successful.’
‘Brexit timetable spoiled,’ said business bible Manager Magazin. ‘Germany industry concerned.’
It added: ‘The German economy is very concerned about the electoral outcome in the United Kingdom. With the parliamentary election, the uncertainty in the German economy is rising, leading the chief executive of the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) Martin Wansleben, to lament: ‘The roadmap for the Brexit negotiations is now wasted.’
‘Foreign Trade President Anton Börner is also expecting new uncertainties around the Brexit. ‘This is not a cause for Schadenfreude because this is bad news for Brussels.’
‘May loses absolute majority in parliament,’ said the broadsheet Sueddeutsche Zeitung. ‘What this political insecurity means in the short term for the exit negotiations with EU remains unclear.
The Netherlands’ nrc.next said: ‘May’s big gamble is wrong’ while Greece’s Ta Nea includes a graphic with the United Kingdom inside one of Theresa May’s famous leopard print shoes.
The Wall Street Journal said: ‘U.K. Polls Point to No Majority; Outcom would represent a major setback for Prime Minister May’.
Italy’s Corriere della Sera said: ‘Exit poll: May retreats, she has no majority’ while Fintan O’Toole, a columnist for The Irish Times, said: ‘Queen Theresa ousted in ignominy; In all of this panic there has been a deep undermining of the idea of political authority’.
Ouest France, another of the biggest papers in France, pointed to: ‘An election for nothing’, saying that a ‘profoundly disorientated Britain’ had voted.
Le Monde, the most famous paper in the country, meanwhile suggested that Britain was facing up to the prospect of ‘terribly fragile’ minority government that will be a ‘blow to the Brexit schedule’.
Le Monde quoted academics from the London School of Economics (LSE), including Professor Iain Begg who said: ‘It’s a disaster for Theresa May. Her leadership is being questioned and she will be under pressure to resign if the results are confirmed.’
Tony Travers, also of the LSE, told Le Monde: ‘It seems that there will be instability and it will be more difficult for the British government to negotiate Brexit from a firm position.’
Jean-Baptise Duval, economic editor of the French Huffington Post, said: ‘The result is the exact opposite of the one Theresa May wanted. She, who was counting on a large victory to reinforce her hard Brexit line, will start negotiations weakened against the EU.’
And Le Croix newspaper said: ‘The opposition Labour leader, the very Left-wing Jeremy Corbyn, was the big winner in the parliamentary elections on Thursday, increasing the score of his party when he was considered beaten and mocked within his own party.’
AFP, France’s national news agency, set the tone for coverage, writing: ‘The Conservative prime minister Theresa May was in a hurry to resign on Friday, after her Conservative Party lost its absolute majority in the British parliament.’
The report suggested that it was ‘a result that plunged [Britain] into uncertainty before the opening of Brexit negotiations.’
AFP suggested it was a ‘a personal failure for Mrs May, who had called the legislative elections anticipating a large majority to negotiate the exit from the European Union.
‘The Conservatives were ahead in the polls but lost a dozen seats, while the Labour opposition won around thirty, according to these almost certain results after which the Tories will not be able to obtain an absolute majority.’
Spanish daily El Pais accused Theresa May of ‘short-termism’ in an editorial piece.
It said: ‘The short-term adventurism of the British PM Theresa May has reached its end in the polls in the first occasion in which the leader submitted her candidacy to public scrutiny.
‘If May brought yesterday’s elections forward to achieve electoral backing for the UK’s crucial Brexit negotiations, as she repeatedly claimed, the result she’s obtained has been exactly the opposite.’
Writer and journalist Berna Gonzalez Harbour, in a piece titled ‘When the United Kingdom went wrong’, claimed May had continued to fuel the ‘mistake machine’ Tony Blair had turned on by distancing Britain from Europe despite his pro-European colours and aligning it with George Bush and his illegal war on Irak.
She wrote: ‘It’s difficult to imagine that May will stop the mistake machine when she’s talking about the end of tolerance (what tolerance?) and about hard Brexit.’
Rival El Mundo claimed the ‘strong and stable’ Margaret Thatcher-style image May had tried to project had gone from ‘inspiring confidence among her voters to causing the same effect as a joke told too many times.’
Blaming the electoral result on several factors including her ‘Dementia tax’ and criticism over police cuts while she was Home Secretary following the Manchester and London terrorist attacks, it added: ‘The Conservative party has won the elections but they have lost their absolute majority.
‘May, who had called these elections to increase her majority in Parliament so she could negotiate Brexit with a stronger hand, has failed.’
  • Courtesy: Mailonline
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