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Chirac salutes French voters

PARIS, France (CNN) -- President Jacques Chirac saluted French men and women for re-electing him for a second term, pledging to fight intolerance and boost France.

Chirac said he believed his victory was an appeal from French voters to continue the Republic. "I'm very touched, I feel a great sense of responsibility."

"Tonight, France has reaffirmed its attachment to values of the Republic."

Chirac won just over 80 percent of the vote in the second round of the presidential vote on Sunday, beating National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen. (Full story)

In his victory speech, Chirac said France had just lived through a period of great worry. Le Pen's shock victory in the first round, where he beat Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, had angered many French and prompted mass anti-Le Pen rallies during the last fortnight.

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He said the republic's attributes of equality, fraternity and liberty would be upheld.

Chirac said the vote meant the French wanted to remain open to Europe and the world with reforms in domestic politics.

Chirac said he would establish a government that would respond to "your worries and find solutions to problems that for too long have been neglected."

The priorities of the new government would be "to re-establish the authority of the state, respond to the demands for security and put France on a new path of growth and employment," he said.

"France will be on a new path to growth and employment. We well fight against intolerance and extremism."

Le Pen, from his headquarters near Paris, called the result "a stinging defeat for hope in France."

"I still feel this is a victory for the National Party," said Le Pen after the projections were announced on French national television.




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