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France

French press review 18 April 2012

media

Is French election law out of date? Will Bayrou be the presidential kingmaker? Are the French a nation of petrol thieves? What law do millions of French women break every day? And how Malian Muslims sheltered Christians from Islamist fighters.

Left-leaning Libération scoffs at what it describes as France’s old-fashioned rules about announcing the result of the election before 8pm.

France has quite rigid rules in election campaigning regarding for example the amount of air-time each candidate is entitled to. And a media black-out on the day of the election is, in Libé’s opinion an outdated one.

It argues that in the Twitter and Facebook era the embargo on estimates is archaic.

Right-wing Le Figaro headlines with an article about the centrist candidate François Bayrou. It says that the balance of power in the second round of the elections is down to him. But Le Figaro's editorial says that he has managed to make enemies on the left and on the right, not to mention amongst centrists.

In a fairly odd juxtaposition of articles, Le Figaro has a full-page article about the declining popularity of Spain’s right-wing government just months into its mandate. It then goes on to talk later in the paper about British PM David Cameron’s waning popularity, Cameron being from the Conservative Party.

It seems strange for the right-wing paper to be highlighting a trend in declining popularity of right-wing governments in neighbouring countries, when it is supporting right-wing candidate Nicolas Sarkozy in his bid to stay in the presidential palace.

Aujourd’hui en France is steering clear of the election. It has a report on the increasing problem of petrol thieves in France. Petrol stations are combating this problem by making people pay before filling up their tanks.

Also in Aujourd'hui en France, did you know that it is illegal for women to wear trousers without permission from their local police station? Of course no-one really enforces this law these days but a feminist group has today launched a campaign to get this law, which seems somewhat bizarre in the 21st century, retracted.

Le Figaro also looks across the English Channel to London where preparations are underway for the the Olympic Games. A hundred days before the opening ceremony and the project is well over budget, according to Le Figaro 10 billion euros over the three billion initially earmarked.

And Le Figaro remarks that the Brits are getting a bit disgruntled by this in an era of austerity.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

Beyond France, Catholic daily La Croix reports on the Malian refugees who are fleeing the north of the country and descending on the capital Bamako. They are not just escaping the conflict between the army, the Tuareg rebels and Islamist fighters but also the precarious food situation.

In the past three months, hundreds of thousands have arrived in the capital, putting a a strain on resources.

La Croix also reports on the Muslims who sheltered their Christian neighbours from Islamist fighters in order to save their lives.

And to zoom across continents, La Croix also reports on the story that Venezuela is attempting to cover up a petrol spillage in the northern city of Maturin. The oil pipeline ruptured at the beginning of February. According to a biologist, about 12 million litres escaped, although the government has never made the figures public.

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