Article published the Saturday 05 May 2012 - Latest update : Saturday 05 May 2012

French press review 5 May 2012

By William Niba

On the eve of second round presidential elections here in France, the papers are all about the duel between President Nicolas Sarkozy and his Socialist challenger François Hollande.

Le Figaro is pinning its hopes on a “historic choice”, the right-wing newspaper obviously praying for an upset victory for the incumbent. In today’s editorial the paper explains why voters should pick Sarkozy instead of Hollande.

Sarkozy, it argues, in his drive to trim the deficit and rebalance the budget by 2016, opted for cuts on expenditure, the non-replacement of one out of two civil servants taking retirement, balancing social welfare accounts, lowering the cost of labour, greater flexibility in labour policies and increased funding of innovation and research.

According to Le Figaro, these are the same policies that are behind Germany’s success story and they reflect “the model pursued by all the major European countries”, not the extravagant proposals made by the Socialists. 

“Everything will be possible on Sunday “says Libération. The left-leaning paper is upbeat, given that its preferred candidate François Hollande is the favourite although the gap separating him from Sarkozy is narrowing.

Libé holds in an editorial that while Sarkozy implemented a “dangerous” strategy that transgressed the fundamental values of his conservative political base, Hollande demonstrated that a more just, humane and “less brutal society” was possible in France with a people- and growth-oriented Europe within reach.

For Libération, voters must go to the polls to “end a five-year mandate that left the nation paralysed by fear and French citizens at loggerheads with each other”.

Le Monde claims that feelings of some “discomfort” have been creeping through the right-wing electorate as the “spectre of defeat” looms. The newspaper explains that the personal endorsement of Hollande by centrist leader François Bayrou complicates Sarkozy’s prospects of securing a second term. Le Monde predicts a simple and gigantic task for whoever wins on Sunday.

He will be confronted by the crisis and its “hoard of jobless citizens and the miseries of exclusion”, which have “disrupted” the harmony of the French society.

He will also have to face up to the “ravages of globalisation”, which are generating “anger, hatred, fear and nostalgia about a French society that is no more”.

Le Monde has some advice for the new president. He will have to “rebuild a dislocated nation”, and “recreate the conditions for a prosperous nation where all French citizens will live in harmony 'without distinction', irrespective of their race colour or religion”.

La Croix takes its readers for a guided tour of the Elysée Palace.

The Catholic daily speaks to the privileged workers serving behind the scenes to make the palace a worthy home and office for the president.

Aujourd’hui en France/Le Parisien takes up a question that has polarised political discourse in this country, “Do you vote right or left?"

The special report headlined “from one political riverbank to the other” investigates how perceptions of political affiliation are affecting daily life in France. It finds out that, despite all the brouhaha, it isn’t sure that people’s political opinions are so contrasted.

The sports daily L’Equipe splashes 5 May across its cover page today. It is the 20th anniversary of the Furiani stadium disaster on the French island of Corsica.

Eighteen people died and more than 2,500 others were injured when a stand collapsed at a football cup semi-final between Bastia and Marseille. The paper recalls the catastrophe with a series of articles paying tribute to the victims as well as the fans who survived France’s worst sporting disaster yet can’t forget.

L’Equipe underlines that the football federation has cancelled all Premier League games this weekend as a sign of respect for the victims of the Furiani stadium disaster.

tags: France - François Bayrou - François Hollande - French presidential election 2012 - French press review - Nicolas Sarkozy - Press review - Sport
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