71% of French: Chirac can't resolve riot causes

Seventy-one percent of French people do not believe President Jacques Chirac can solve social problems that fueled nationwide riots, a poll published Sunday said. However, nearly a quarter think far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen can. Chirac's Cabinet fared better with 52% saying they were confident Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin could "find solutions to the problems in the suburbs," according to a poll conducted by the IFOP agency for Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper. Meanwhile, 53% said they had faith in Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, a former Chirac protege turned rival, the poll said. Opposition politicians have criticized Chirac for his virtual silence about the rioting that began on Oct. 27 in the Paris suburbs and has spread across the country.