Must-Reads from Around the World, May 7, 2012

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Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

A combination of six photographs show German Chancellor and Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party leader Angela Merkel before a party board meeting in Berlin, May 7, 2012

Eyes on Berlin – Germany’s Der Spiegel assesses the impact of François Hollande’s victory in the French presidential election Sunday on Chancellor Angela Merkel. “[She] can’t be pleased… but it will at least be bearable for her. The new-found self-confidence of her junior coalition partner, the FDP, which scored a surprise success in the state election of Schleswig-Holstein on Sunday, poses a greater threat to the chancellor,” it says.

Vladimir’s Views - As Vladimir Putin was sworn in for his third presidential term Monday, the Christian Science Monitor featured a commentary by Angus Roxburgh, a former correspondent who once worked for him, on the world view of Russia’s strongman. The writer’s theory: “The president is feeling dissed by the West and believes it conspires to ‘destroy’ Russia.”

Clinton Calling - The Times of India reports on this week’s visit by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, when Iranian oil imports are likely to be discussed. “It may be an informal swing through India but [she] will not hesitate to raise uncomfortable issues when she meets the Indian leadership over the next couple of days,” the newspaper predicts. And returning to domestic affairs, the Washington Post reports that Clinton seemed to rule out a potential presidential run in the future, though said she hoped to see a female U.S. president in her lifetime. 

Not Bearing Gifts – Greece is likely struggle to form a government in light of Sunday’s election results, which saw a surge of support for various fringe parties, rather than a move toward the mainstream. Indeed, the two major parties, New Democracy and PASOK, attracted only a third of the vote. As ND leader Antonis Samaras prepares to form a government, TIME’s Joanna Kakissis reports that anger on the streets remains palpable. “There is no working state in this country,” said Socrates Mavridis, a hotel clerk in the northern port city of Thessaloniki. “The politicians are corrupt and only care about themselves. They don’t care that we have no jobs, no hope and no future.”

Must Do Better – One European leader who must be relieved that there’s no election on the horizon is David Cameron. But Britain’s Prime Minister has been told in no uncertain terms by the electorate that the coalition government isn’t impressing in light of last week’s local elections, which saw the Tories losing 405 council seats, while their Liberal Democrat partners lost 336. Writing in the Daily Telegraph on Monday, Cameron promised focus, delivery and hard work. “My reaction to last week’s local election results is straightforward: I get the message, loud and clear,” is how he started the piece. “I know that the familiar excuses – low turnout, mid-term blues – aren’t enough.”

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