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French press review 16 March 2012

The French presidential campaign once again dominates today’s French dailies. Almost to the point of sleep deprivation! Let me explain.


Le Figaro leads with politics. "I accuse François Hollande of not wanting to reduce state expenses for fear of losing popularity", exclaims the French PM François Fillon on the right-wing daily’s front-page.

In an exclusive interview with the paper, François Fillon also accuses the socialist candidate of cowardice and irresponsibility: “Today, to be European means to free Europe from deficits and to build the political governance of the eurozone. François Hollande does not propose either.”

On its opinion pages, the daily is wondering whether Nicolas Sarkozy is capable of rallying the vote of the so-called “forgotten”.

The “silent France” is the electorate Sarkozy is chosing to concentrate on from now on. “I would like the silent France to help me. I cannot fight alone against the righteous thinking of the Socialists” the paper quotes Sarkozy as saying.

According to the editorial, Sarkozy is trying to appeal to both extreme right and extreme left voters, supporters respectively of  Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Melenchon.

The paper concludes by saying despite the fact that the left-dominated media has already proclaimed Socialist Hollande’s victory, there is still real uncertainty over the outcome of the vote. Forty per cent of the voters have not yet decided which candidate they’ll choose.

The business daily Les Echos unveils a financial analysis of the Socialist presidential candidate François Hollande. According to the paper, the Socialist leader based his financial program on revenues some 15 per cent higher than conservative estimates.

“The counter-offensive” exclaims left-wing Libération on its front page. The title refers to the recent opinion polls placing Sarkozy and Hollande almost head to head in the first round of the presidential elections.

According to the article, during last night’s interview on the state-owned France 2 tv channel, François Hollande stayed “coherent” in the wake of improving opinion polls responding to Sarkozy’s aggressive campaign. The time has come to stay calm and educate the voter rather than bombard them with symbolic proposals every day, says the daily.

 The left-wing’s editorial calls on Hollande to continue “on the road of enthusiasm”. But, it warns, the mere rejection of the outgoing French president cannot any longer serve as the sole strategy to win. “

In the second chapter of the presidential campaign, the Scandidate “must refuse the lies and inspire hope” while “facing an adversary without scruples”, says the editorial.

“We have to stop the massacre in Syria”, exclaims the Catholic daily La Croix in its controversial front page editorial. According to the author, the Free Syrian army must cease fighting in population centres.

The article claims that the opposition’s armed faction is not capable of spreading the revolt across the country. The editorial implores the West and its Arab allies to not supply arms to the opposition for fear of provoking a “futile guerrilla war” in the country.

The article calls on the West to support the civil society in Syria while putting sanctions on the country’s leaders and preparing the case for crimes against humanity in the international courts. The paper concludes by saying that “the Arab spring will eventually arrive in Syria”.

And finally, “Why do we sleep so badly ?” asks the popular Aujourd’hui en France on its front page. According to the daily, sleep problems effect about 40 per cent of the population. In the last 50 years, the French have reduced the amount they sleep by about 1.5 hours. And young adults are the worse.

They only sleep 5 hours 40 minutes per night. The reason for sleep deprivation? The internet and social networks. The daily claims that the consequences of sleep deprivation on our health are devastating. Muscle fatigue, overweight, anxiety and even depression! And do you know how the French compensate for the lack of sleep?

The newspaper quotes a study by a national sleep institute stating that 19 per cent of the French regularly have a so called Azerty siesta - named after the first six letters of the computer keyboard!

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