French weekly magazines review
The continuing confusion and back-tracking characterising the Socialist government’s action make President François Hollande the perfect punching bag of the papers this week.
Le Point reports about a furious behind-the-scenes battle in the government over the General Social Contribution tax. Supporters present it as a cushion for the fiscal burden on businesses and the corporate sector but Budget Minister Jérôme Cahuzac says it would be catastrophic and absurd to touch wages, pensions and capital gains of the best-off already burdened by the government’s wealth tax reform.
Only 42 per cent of French voters now view Hollande positively just five months after he took office, the fastest plunge for a president in modern French history, according to the latest Ipsos poll.
Le Canard Enchaîné attributes the president’s problems to ministerial rivalries, inadequate preparation and an absence of consultation within the government.
Marianne raises the alarm about a strong and pervasive odour of gunpowder, warning that things could blow up at any time.
Hollande is wavering in all directions notes Le Nouvel Observateur, explaining that the president has tried everything since moving to the Elysée Palace, including a touch of Sarkozy, but nothing seems to be working for him.
L’Express names five women who it claims are messing up Hollande’s life. They are Ségolène Royal, his children’s mother, First Girlfriend Valerie Trierweiler, former Socialist Party leader Martine Aubry, Housing Minister Cécile Duflot, of the Green Party, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The rivalries, enmities and false alliances Hollande entertains with these ladies and the interferences between the president’s private and public life have compounded his lack of authority, according to the conservative journal.
L’Express also runs excerpts from a shock biography of the First Girlfriend, just out. She is described in the book as a “woman of heart" but also as an “iron lady” who is causing the president more problems than she helps resolve.
Le Nouvel Observateur identifies Francophonie Minister Yamina Benguigui as one woman who is missing from the list. The magazine claims that the filmmaker and former Paris deputy mayor, was handed the portfolio in compensation for services rendered to Trierweiller.
According to the journal, despite being ignored by Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and looked down upon by diplomats, Benguigui nicknamed “The Diva” is afraid of no body.
Le Canard Enchaîné believes ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy is having a field day watching the "Rain Man” struggle in the storm. The satirical weekly says Sarkozy’s friends are already calling him a saint and imploring him to pray for France.
According to Le Canard, opposition UMP party activists are burning candles, hoping for the return of their icon. The satirical weekly doubts that he has any intention to return to politics, pointing to the three-day growth of beard he now wears. Le Canard says the very conservative Le Figaro doesn’t like the “gay bad boy” look, attributed to Sarkozy’s beard and would rather call it “an expression of his new found freedom”.
Former IMF director and almost presidential candidate Dominique Strauss-Kahn has regained his voice, after being silenced by the most sensational sexual assault scandal of our time.
DSK sat down with Le Point to give his own side of the story. Strauss-Kahn told the right-wing magazine that the moral judgment passed on his private life cannot justify all the abuses he suffered.