Article published the Sunday 11 November 2012 - Latest update : Sunday 11 November 2012

French weekly magazines review

By William Niba

French President Fran9ois Hollande’s political difficulties and the leadership battle within the opposition UMP party continue to attract most comments in France's magazines.

Hollande was supposed to have a period of grace after endorsing many of the proposals in a widely praised 30-billion-euro package proposed by ex-EADS chief Louis Gallois to bolster the competitiveness of the economy. But Marianne is boiling with rage and sees the package as blind capitulation and the clearest signal of the Socialist government’s swing to the right.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

Le Point claims that barely six months after Hollande’s election, even his own friends have started doubting his ability to deliver. The conservative journal names Gérard Collomb, the Socialist mayor of Lyon, as one of the skeptics.

According to Le Point he sees the president’s delivery problem as more of an issue of content than approach. Others see stubbornness as the root cause of his disaffection.

Le Point says Hollande simply doesn’t like spin doctors. It points out that he has actually scrapped the huge budget his predecessor set aside for communication strategists and opinion surveys.

For L’Express six months of Hollande's blunders and shilly-shallying leave the impression that there is no one in charge of the country.

Le Nouvel Observateur is also asking questions: Is he really up to the task? Does he have good advisers? Is he still capable of steering the country in a new direction? The left-wing magazine says it expects Hollande to address these issues when he gives his first press conference next week.

Marianne explores the “civil war” it claims has broken out in the opposition UMP party as it prepares to elect a new leader on 18 November. The left-wing magazine says former prime minister François Fillon and the party’s national secretary Jean-François Copé have not slowed down in their exchange of verbal violence not just against each other but against the government and are in danger of sinking the country.

Fillon accuses Copé of splitting French society while he tries to rally the nation in an exclusive interview with L’Express. He also vows to repeal of the law on homosexual marriages if he is elected UMP leader and if his party returns to power in 2017.

Le Nouvel Observateur says the centrists are already packing their bags to leave if Copé gets elected UMP leader.

Presidential election 2012

Le Canard Enchaîné claims that whoever wins the UMP contest he will find a bankrupt movement. The satirical weekly has found out that the UMP is running a 50-million-euro deficit since it has lost 10 million euros in subsidies and four million more as fines for not respecting gender-parity laws.

Le Canard Enchaîné also documents a shortfall of two million euros in donor contributions, which stood at nine million in 2007. The weekly underlines an irony of sorts that while UMP coffers are drying up, Copé’s French Generation political club has amassed a war chest of 400,000 euros in 2012 alone, doubling the contributions of its members in 2007.

Le Point tells the “unbelievable story” of Rachida Dati, Nicolas Sarkozy’s scandal-prone ex-Justice Minister. The magazine ridicules the mayor of the posh seventh district of Paris for threatening to punch her deputy for daring to vote against her budget.

Le Point brands her as a political rock star, dogged by scandals. The journal recalls, that months after her appointment in 2007, she forgot to return dresses borrowed from a couturier, to pose in a celebrity magazine and claims that she has launched a paternity suit against a prominent businessman.

Dati is suing the magazine.

tags: Economy - France - François Fillon - François Hollande - French press review - Jean-François Copé - Justice - Press review - Rachida Dati - Socialist Party - UMP
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