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French weekly magazines review

Will the French be able to live with each other once the voting's over? Can the establishment live with the Front National? How do France's media reflect political divisions? Who will be in the next government? And are you a sex addict?

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As France votes to pick its leader, the weeklies shed extra light on the new ideological landscape of the country as it emerges from the election. “Left, right, Front National, three Frances, Can they live together?" wonders L’Express, in this week’s cover story.

The right-wing magazine, says France is a nation more than ever torn apart, after the Front National, tossed its hat into the ring as the left and the right drew battle lines for their traditional duel.

L’Express says the far-right movement enters the political arena as kingmaker but also as the symptom of a disease far more serious than the economic crisis. According to the magazine, this bizarre “triangulation” of the “political play” is being rejected by the country's institutions. President Nicolas Sarkozy’s dream of reconciling France with globalisation deserved a more reassuring  attitude from his country, says L’Express.

The journal believes that this situation leaves the new French leader, whoever he will be, facing the daunting task of ensuring that this “one and indivisible nation” does not become a society of classes.

Le Point has been screening the political heavyweights and a crop of budding talent, from both parties, likely to pick cabinet positions if their candidate is elected president. The forecast includes projections about who gets what portfolio as well as the structural and operational changes likely to be introduced in government business, depending on who is elected president.

Opinion polls are forbidden here in France on election day but here are some findings published in this week’s Marianne, which make interesting reading. The study is about the political colour of the French media. “Tell me who you vote for and I’ll tell you which news programme you watch, which radio station you listen to and the newspapers you read” jokes the left-leaning Marianne.

The survey carried out by the Ifop polling institute documents an increased polarisation of the media. According to the study, Socialist François Hollande’s supporters have a tendency to watch channels such as the cable TV provider Canal+ and the public broadcaster France Television while Sarko-compatible audiences feel more at home with the private channel TF1.

“My chair killed me” is the title of an amazing article posted in Le Point this week. A scientific study found out that remaining seated for long hours could cause serious health problems. The new research findings shed light on a health problem that had remained unknown up until now in a society where the vast majority of people spend the most of their waking time sitting on their backsides in offices, on public transport or in living rooms.

Dossier: The Strauss-Kahn affair rocks France, IMF

Le Point has an account of Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s controversial appearance at a birthday party. The bash thrown by Socialist lawmaker Julien Dray caused commotion in Francois Hollande’s campaign.

The right-wing magazine reports that several of Hollande’s campaign aides including campaign director Pierre Moscovici, spokesperson Manuel Valls and strategists such as Ségolène Royal fled the restaurant once they learned of DSK’s presence.

Le Point reports that Hollande was furious when he learned about the party late that night pointing out it was a rare opportunity to find out that the Socialist can also get angry.

Le Nouvel Observateur publishes excerpts from Jean-Benoit Dumonteix’s The Sex Addicts written in the aftermaths of the Dominic Strauss-Kahn affair.

The French author claims the DSK saga helped discover a disease ignored for a long time: the fact that sex is a hard drug taken everywhere, anywhere and with anyone by people in pain and agony. The author cites statistics from a local hospital showing that out of 150 sex addicts treated there, the majority were aged between 25 and 45. Le Nouvel Observateur says 99 per cent of the patients treated were men and the majority cyberaddicts.

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