French weekly magazines review
There are captivating stories about wealth, privilege and inequality in France told by the main magazines this week.
As conservative politicians whip-up voter sentiments about the tax-and-spend agenda the government won’t unveil until after the elections, L’Express says corporate France sees itself as the sacrificial lamb of the change promised by President François Hollande.
According to the right-wing magazine, some of France’s wealthiest bosses and property owners are relocating abroad to avoid paying the high price of fiscal reforms to be unveiled by the government after the parliamentary elections.
L’Express claims that the tycoons being called upon to participate in the national economic recovery effort include people with close ties with the President.
The paper names several millionaires who have always stood by the left like leading entrepreneur Pierre Bergé, and pop star Yannick Noah, plus four cabinet ministers who fall under the cap of wealth tax payers: Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Marisol Touraine in charge of the social affairs and public health portfolio, Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac and Michel Delauney Minister in charge of the Elderly and Dependents.
Le Canard Enchaîné accuses Socialist Party chief Martine Aubry of “fanning” the tax scare sweeping through the business sector by calling for a tax explosion. The satirical weekly says President Hollande and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault would be furious about her mouth-running on such an explosive matter on the eve of a crucial election.
Marianne takes up another “political gaffe “by Housing Minister Cécile Duflot. The Green Party leader sparked a mini-government crisis and was ridiculed by the UMP after voicing her strong support for the de-penalization of cannabis.
Madame Duflot’s position contradicts that of President François Hollande and Marianne says she still hasn’t “understood” the difference between a minister and a party chief. According to the left-leaning weekly, Duflot’s “intrusion” on an issue that does not fall under her responsibility is a “present” to political opponents who see the Green’s presence in the government as a “time bomb”.
Marianne also publishes an investigative report on the “scandal of inequalities” in the real estate sector. The paper found out that while apartments in posh districts have reached “unprecedented” prices, the vast majority of French citizens are “bleeding” to find a place to live, often under “unqualified conditions”. It’s an “evil” that has eaten up the country says the left-leaning journal.
Marianne tells the pathetic story of Anne who shares a 10 square-metre room with her daughter. She pays 300 euros for the place, while her landlord collects 2100 euros from the social services for the tiny place. A record three out of four French citizens are facing housing problems , nine out of ten in the Parisian region, according to a recent survey by the polling agency Ipsos.
Le Nouvel Observateur begins a campaign against “lavish government spending”. The paper carried out an inventory of “privileges which should be abolished” by ministers, lawmakers, local councillors, heads of government corporations and civil servants.
Ruling party lawmakers earn about 150,000 euros annually as opposed to 30,000 for opposition deputies ass parliamentary bonuses according to the journal. François Hollande, the magazine says, promised justice and equality during the campaign. It is up to “Mister Normal” now to “attack the abuses” of not just civil servants but the bosses of the CAC 40.
This week’s Le Point is all about the Strauss-Kahn’s. The right-wing magazine publishes excerpts from a new book by journalists Raphaelle Bacqué and Ariane Chemin revealing the secret story of Dominique and Anne Sinclair’s “20-year love affaire”.
Le Point describes the book as a journey through the corridors of the Strauss-Kahn clan, an “unbelievable saga of love and money”. The journal recalls a closed-door meeting at the Elysée Palace in October 2007, when President Nicolas Sarkozy warned the IMF chief to “be careful with women”, and “the reaction the Americans” to his vivid life.
Sarkozy who nominated Strauss-Kahn for the IMF job raised the issue, as graphic accounts of his “libertine” exploits became the favourite gossip topic in Parisian pubs.
There is another book just out which Marianne describes as “frightening” the clan of former President Nicolas Sarkozy. It’s entitled “The Monarch, his son, his fief”, written by Marie-Célie Guillaume, who is the cabinet director for Patrick Devedjian, a long-time friend to Sarkozy who has fallen out of grace.
The book narrates the turpitudes of the former UMP ruling party in the 92nd department, Monsieur Sarkozy’s political stronghold. Guillaume told Marianne she had been insulted and threatened with reprisals since she released the book.
Le Point says Monsieur Sarkozy could be called up by police investigators as early as mid-June when his presidential immunity expires. Sarkozy, the journal says, is being awaited by Judge Jean Michel Gentil who is prosecuting the Bettencourt illegal campaign funding affaire.
According to Le Point, Sarkozy is also expected to testify in his case against the investigative website Mediapart which accuses him of funding the 2007 campaign with money from Moamer Kadhafi’s regime.