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French weekly magazines review 17 January 2016

media DR

Lead stories in this week’s magazines range from David Bowie’s death to pressure on French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira. The weeklies also ask whether the top political parties will maintain their domination and their leaders their positions until the presidential elections of 2017. And they ask: is there a need for primary elections within the main political parties?

L’Express has a picture of President François Hollande looking almost lost on its cover, and says that, what with the debate on depriving convicted terrorists of their French nationality, government policy on Africa and the challenge of unemployment, the president seems confused. 

Click here to read more articles on Paris attacks

The right-wing magazine says the ruling Socialist Party is racked by doubt. When it comes to employment, it’s all words words words, some numbers and no action at all. 

The magazine says the debate about stripping dual nationals of their French citizenship if they are linked to terrorism has roused the other left parties - the Greens, the Communists - and that it seems clear now that they have been stripped of all will to see Hollande back in power in 2017. 

Le Point chooses to lead with Alain Juppé, one of the contenders to be the right(wing Republicans' presidential candidate in 2017.  Le Point says point blank that he is the most likely to win the presidential election. Juppé has been laying low these past years, keeping away from major political feuds and avoiding scandal, and has had a successful run as mayor of the city of Bordeaux, in south-west France.

Right-wing Le Point's editorial rants about pretty much everything going on in France and in the world right now. “France’s speciality? Fake debates! Look at the one on the stripping of French nationality? It's ridiculous!” the editorial begins. “France is embroiled in a civil war, the infection is spreading …” this after the attacks on a police station and on a Jewish teacher this past week.

US President Barack Obama is, it says, simply the worst president since George W Bush (isn't he the only president since Bush?). Obama, it says, is "a narcissist who doesn’t care about geopolitics". Finally there's Turkey, which, the magazine says, simply wants to kill as many Kurds as possible. It ends by saying that it’s about time France found itself proper allies to fight the Islamic State armed group - such as, the Kurds, Russia and Iran, who are the worst enemies of our enemies. 

Click here for our coverage of Turkey election 2015

Left-leaning L'Obs, formerly Le Nouvel Observateur, has David Bowie on its cover, giving him a full in-depth article called “Requiem for an alien." The loss of the music superstar comes up in all the magazines.

On the sidelines, there’s Christiane Taubira as well, saying that she’s become the government’s main headache. 

The Obs' opinion piece is all about the call for a primary election on the left. It says that having such an election, despite it not being a French tradition, would answer four compelling requirements:

  • First of all, the political urgency of rallying all left parties/tendencies together to face the right.
  • Then, it says, the need for a proper strategy to ensure that the left-wing candidate reaches the second round. As it stands now, the left is too divided, the magazine says, to withstand the presidential elections.
  • Third, if the right-wing parties do it, why not play the game? It’s all about tactics.
  • Last but not least, it allows the left to rally public opinion and that’s also thinking in  the long-term.

Left-wing Marianne headlines “The real Taubira”. The justice minister’s name is on everyone's lips, for many different reasons. The magazine looks back on her career.

Marianne also feels a primary election for the left might not be such a bad idea.

It says that Hollande has lost support and a primary is needed, since 85 per cent of people voting for the left - not just Socialist Party supporters but all left-wingers - are in favour of such an election, which means a clear lack of faith in Hollande. 

Marianne gives the results of an opinion poll conducted mid-January. Among left-wing voters, 25 per cent would like to see Prime Minister Manuel Valls representing the left in the next elections, whereas Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron is mostp opular among all voters. Interestingly, a vast majority thinks that having a primary election would boost the selected candidate’s popularity and would enhance their chances of actually making it to the second round. 

Taubira makes satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchainé’s headline as well. It says that the main concern of Hollande’s employment plan is that his justice minister should keep her job. A cartoon shows the president and prime minister telling her “If you stay, we’re in trouble, if you leave we’re in trouble” and Taubira, sitting across from them like a scolded schoolgir,l saying “Geez, I wouldn’t like to be in your shoes."

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