French press review 26 October 2012
French politics and the problems at the helm of the state are the main topical issues taken up in today’s national dailies.
“Executive faces amateurism charges” groans Le Monde in its front page story, as Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault is the target of critcism for serious communication errors and a string of gaffes committed by his government. The paper stresses that the accusations are not just coming from theright-wing UMP but also from left-leaning ranks as well.
Le Figaro states that President François Hollande has no choice but to live with an "atmosphere of defiance". The conservative newspaper publishes a new OpinionWay survey which documents the worsening of Hollande’s popularity rating.
The number of voters unhappy with his policies has climbed to 64 per cent as he struggles to complete his fifth month in office.
Le Figaro advises Hollande to create a panel to study the cause of his growing unpopularity, since the creation of commissions is part of his government’s way of life. But it notes that such a panel won’t need months but 10 minutes to diagnose the ailment the Socialists are suffering from. It’s is inadequate preparation, says the newspaper.
Hollande and his friends were so enthusiastic about beating Nicolas Sarkozy in this year's presidential election that they forgot what to do the day after, it says. Le Figaro notes that the day after has been running for almost six months and the head of state’s zigzagging strategy leaves the impression that his term of office hasn’t even started. That, the paper says, is breeding confusion in French people's minds and sapping the energy and morale of the nation as it tries to extirpate itself from the economic crisis.
"Hollande concedes to competiveness shock” headlines Libération in its own front page story this Friday. The left-leaning paper points out that after weeks of hesitation and polemics within the majority, the president has finally called off the bickering, rejecting the idea of a massive transfer of the fiscal burden placed on the shoulders of wealthy tax payers to all income earners.
Talking about austerity, Les Echos is full of admiration for Britain now that David Cameron’s Tories have scored their first economic successes. The economic daily reports that after three consecutive quarters of recession, British GDP grew by one per cent while unemployment fell below the eight per cent mark, following a 12 per cent slash of the country’s civil servants. Les Echos calls it a “no-taboos model worth emulating”.
“Socialist Party searches for its place in government” crows L’Humanité apparently enjoying sweet revenge for its sidelining from the leftist coalition that brought Hollande to power. The Communist Party daily notes that the Socialists are still confused about their role in the majority as they hold a conference in Toulouse this weekend to elect a new executive committee.
Many of its leaders, according to L’Humanité are vacillating between supporting the government and the craving to move further and faster towards implementing the change promised in the manifesto that took them to victory They are now controlling the executive and both arms of parliament for the very first time in the history of the fifth French Republic, founded in 1958.
It is renewal time for both the ruling party and the opposition UMP movement says La Croix. The Catholic newspaper holds that the two main parties are rejuvenating their leaderships after the election of Harlem Désir as the Socialist Party’s first secretary, with UMP chief Jean-Francois Copé and ex-Prime Minister François Fillon squaring off in a televised debate Thursday night ahead of the party’s leadership contest on 18 November.