French weekly magazines review
The French weeklies are giving President François Hollande a severe hammering. In other news, a new book details the sex slaves of the former Libyan dictator, Moamer Kadhafi.
We begin with salacious news: Le Point’s review of Annick Cojean’s new book on the sex slaves of ex-Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi. Titled The Preys and due out on 12 September, it reveals how the tyrant used prisons, beauty parlors and weddings to find women to become his sex slaves.
Le Point runs excerpts from a chapter detailing an attempt by a Libyan envoy in Dakar to fly 100 Senegalese models to Tripoli, officially, to attend a beauty contest, but privately to serve as mistresses for the nymphomaniac dictator. The plan was blocked when Senegalese officials learned that the young women, who included teenagers, were being allowed to board a jet without travelling papers.
In France, President François Hollande is the target of some severe pounding by the press. The hardest blows are coming from the so-called left-leaning publications. “Hollande, wake up! The house is on fire!” shouts an irritated Marianne. The weekly complains that the “new tenant in the Elysée Palace” is becoming a cause for concern t his electorate.
Marianne claims he is too inactive in the face of immense crises confronting France. The left-leaning weekly says public distress and unease caused by his inaction could descend into full-fledged anger against the Elysée. It is indeed problematic for the President to see business chiefs complain about the aggressive and noxious nature of his policies.
Marianne concludes by landing a knock-out on the president’s head. François Hollande, it says, seems to be ruling France as if he were still the first secretary of the Socialist Party, a post he held for 16 years.
“Could they be so stupid”, wonders Le Nouvel Observateur in its cover page, with the headline pasted on an official photograph of the Government taken in front of the Elysée Palace.
Le Nouvel Observateur says Hollande’s administration has failed to seize a great opportunity for action offered by the traditional “rentrée” return from the summer vacation due to the “misfiring, squabbling and inexperience of some ministers". According to the magazine, Hollande was definitely “wrong” by opting not to dramatise the economic situation when the worsening crisis was obvious to everyone.
Le Nouvel Observateur lists five key dilemmas facing Hollande’s presidency: stagnating growth, an ultra-tight budgetary corset, spiraling unemployment and the government’s road map to get lawmakers ratify the European Treaty, which President Hollande originally pledged to renegotiate.
“What if Sarkozy was right”, wonders L’Express, in this week’s cover story. The magazine claims the government is now copying the policies of the defeated conservative president, such as policies on the Roma people, and questions the government's policies on economic competitiveness, security, the European treaty and on the “rhythm” of reforms.
The right-wing magazine continues its coverage of Hollande's woes with the headline: “Government searches for a plumber”. The magazine reports the Elysée is embarrassed by a string of leaks to the press regarding important government measures, well before the cabinet has even decided on them. The weekly quotes an aide to the Prime Minister who says that 80 percent of the leakages come from Bercy, a giant complex in downtown Paris that houses several economic ministries.
Le Point says Hollande has decided to move to the front line, worried by the “grave weaknesses” of his government to deliver his campaign promises. The conservative magazine admits, however, that it has never been so hard to wrap up a budget, as the government must raise 90 billion euros before December and 60 billion more in 2013 to balance the budget and to service its colossal debt. It is a herculean task, explains Le Point, because the economy is not expected to meet the 2 percent of GDP growth forecast by the government.
In response to L'Express suggestion that Sarkozy might have been right all along, Le Canard Enchaîné quacks "No way!". A fervent critic of the Sarkozy years, the paper satirises how French people ran out of breath while struggling to keep pace with Sarkozy, who kept rolling out new measures every day during his first 100 days in office. The satirical journal believes the hyper-activity was aimed at fueling the media machine more than anything else. Le Canard says it now understands why ”lovers of smoke and mirrors and loud spectacles are so nostalgic”. That should offer some consolation to President François Hollande.