Head the Federation Council's (the upper house of the Russian parliament) international affairs committee Mikhail Margelov called the participation of the French ultra-right forces' leader Le Pen in the second round of presidential elections in France as a "real blow at French democracy". Commenting on the results of the first round of elections in France in his interview with RIA Novosti by phone, he noted that they "in essence mean a failure of the present active political class in France, a signal to the renovation of the political generation in the country". "The fact that so many people voted for Le Pen vividly shows that the French political elite tried to ignore the real problems that worry the voters, "Margelov pointed out. According to him, the sociological institutes also "failed" because "none of them forecast such success of Le Pen." Margelov emphasised that Le Pen won in 9 out of 20 election districts, "in traditional working regions which previously voted for communists". So, "we see the split of the French left forces," the senator stated. The election campaign of French president Jacques Chirac was not successful, either. "Although Chirac declared security for every citizen, and this is the favourite theme of Le Pen, no security was ensured", Margelov stressed and explained that he means the criminological situation in big cities of France where a lot of people from the Arab and African countries live. Margelov expressed confidence that Chirac would win in the second round. "But this will be the choice between bad and very bad", the senator believes. He also said that the technology of conducting the second round of elections in France will be similar to that used at the presidential elections in Russia in 1996. The success of Le Pen, Margelov noted, "shows the radicalisation of the sentiments in Europe." "France is now faced with the need to re-organise its political class," he added.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the termination of diplomatic relations with NATO at a time when US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ended a meeting in Georgia with his counterpart