French press review 8 September 2012
French newspapers are all looking ahead to a much-anticipated television interview with President François Hollande on Sunday.
Le Figaro says François Hollande will face a tough time during the interview on television channel TF1 after being rough-handled by the polls due to the economic crisis and rising unemployment. The right-wing newspaper believes President Hollande knows he will be asked some very tough questions.
Le Figaro asks whether Hollande is ready to put aside his lofty electoral promises and renounce the disastrous policies of tax hikes and spending increases, and instead focus on carrying out bold reforms and cutting spending in order to revive the recession-hit economy.
On Friday, President Hollande insisted that France will meet its target of slashing the public deficit to three percent of GDP by 2013, as he eyes savings worth 10 billion euros before December.
He reiterated that his government remains on course to raise 33 billion euros needed for debt servicing and balancing the budget. President Hollande also explained that this will be carried out through “spending inflections” and a “fairly-shared fiscal policy” involving small and medium sized businesses and multinationals in a "manner that doesn’t hurt their competitiveness".
The remarks didn’t stop Le Parisien/Aujourd’hui en France from wondering whether Hollande can “retract” a projected 75 percent tax increase on the country’s highest earners. According to the paper, the question is worth asking amid continuing allegations about a leaked plan that aims to “water down” the harsh fiscal measures.
"Help, help ! Sarkozy is coming", shouts Libération, terrified by the fact that the former president is benefitting from the “political void” created by Hollande’s fumbling since returning to Paris from a much-criticised summer vacation.
Libération says the spectre of a returning Nicolas Sarkozy is also haunting the UMP opposition party as candidates to succeed the” fallen chief” try to take control of the party.
The left-leaning paper says the “process is turning into a burlesque comedy “as the candidates, (current party secretary Jean-Francois Copé, former Prime Minister François Fillon, ex-Sarkozy adviser Henri Guaino and Sarkozy’s former campaign Chief Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet) rush around looking like “confused novices”.
Libé says the “inglorious scenes” characterising the leadership contest exposes a disturbing fact: it believes the post will go to whomever ends up “getting Sarkozy’s blessing".
Le Monde examines the prospects of US Democrats to remain in the White House after President Obama’s party wrapped up its convention in North Carolina on Thursday night. The paper claims Barak Obama’s “cool personality” was on display at the nomination ritual in Charlotte, where the Democrats demonstrated that the Republicans can’t push them around anymore, when it comes to matters concerning security and patriotism.