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French press review 3 February 2012

The French presidential elections and more on today's front pages...


Le Figaro’s front page teases with the “shock ideas” the French president is supposedly preparing to announce during his not-yet-announced presidential campaign. The article quotes the visitors to the Elysee palace who tell the stories of combative Sarkozy, who appears ready to attack head-on his socialist rival, François Hollande.

The paper quotes Sarkozy as saying: “Hollande will have to position himself according to my proposals, good luck with that.”

The French president is also planning to give a joint interview with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on both French and Germany public television. Amusingly enough, the article itself does not feature the president’s shock ideas promised on the front page.

The daily’s business section headlines “Despite the crisis, LVMH posts record profits”. In the times of global recession, the French luxury giant reports a 34 per cent rise in profits. The story on the business pages of the conservative daily says that the luxury company's sales on all continents and across all groups of products are booming with 23.7 billion euros turnover.

Dossier: Revolution in Egypt

Libération gives over its front page to a picture of a shouting Egyptian protester. "La revolution en deuil… The revolution in mourning.” It runs the story of the Port Said football match tragedy in which 74 people were killed. The paper fears that one year after the fall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime, the country is about to descend into chaos, says the left-leaning daily. “who benefits from the situation ?” asks the daily.

The Egyptians increasingly blame the Egyptian military council which has been managing the country during the transition period.

Aujourd’hui en France's front page features two pictures of the Mona Lisa painting with a story called “the Mona Lisa has a twin sister”. This surprising story is the revelation by the Prado museum in Madrid of a Mona Lisa copy painted at exactly the same time as the original.

The Prado museum confirms the painting is the work of one of Leonardo da Vinci’s students. Even more fascinating is the fact that, according to the Prado museum’s curator, the painting was completed before Da Vinci’s version.

On its’ front page, Aujourd'hui en France is also asking a question “Is Martine Aubry, the head of the Sociaist Party, on the way to becoming prime minister?…” According to the daily, Martine Aubry, who fought François Hollande in the socialist primaries; publicly denied having any ambition to becoming prime minister if François Hollande wins the election. But, says the daily, she’s only putting on a show.

“Our democracy may not be as lost as I thought it was,” says the leader of the French far- right National Front on the politics pages of Aujourd’hui en France. "Marine Le Pen scores a point in the battle for election signatures," says the daily.  Each presidential candidate has to present 500 public signatures of local mayors in order to be able to participate in the presidential elections.

Marine Le Pen has so far not being able to gather those signatures. Following the party’s request to abolish the requirement for transparency of the signatures, State Council has decided to refer the case to the Supreme Constitutional Council, which should hand down its ruling on 22 Febraury.

La Croix leads with a front page editorial, rallying against the euthanasia legislation featured in the Socialist Party’s program. The Catholic daily makes a passionate appeal against the socialists’ initiative, saying that “deciding in favour of euthanasia is to admit
a defeat”.

And finally, the sports daily L’Equipe leads with the interview of the newly-appointed Paris Saint Germain’s football club manager, Carlo Ancelotty. I am cautious about Marseille…. says the newly-appointed Italian manager of the Parisian club. He admits that Olympique Marseille and its manager Didier Deschamps could be a formidable obstacle on the way to winning the Ligue 1 championship.


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