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French weekly magazines review

The fallout from the leadership election at France's main opposition party, UMP, continues to dominate the news. 


It is two full weeks now, since the UMP secretary Jean-Francois Copé and former prime minister François Fillon started firing missiles at each other, dragging in their supporters in a do-or-die battle to control the party.

This week’s Le Nouvel Observateur investigates “how he cheated”. It accuses Copé of using his grip on the UMP machinery to fix the rules of the election to suit his agenda. The left-leaning journal believes Copé had been preparing for a long time, adding that he was facilitated by François Fillon’s naivety.

For the magazine, Copé is blindsighted by a long-cultivated complex that he is the best, coupled with the belief that he is out of reach. That made him less likely to respect an aging dignitary like François Fillon.

runs a photograph of Jean-Francois Copé on its cover page with the caption: “Politics in the gutter”. The magazine blames Copé for turning a smooth leadership transition into a farce characterised by power grabs and bad faith.

According to the left-leaning Marianne, there is an urgent need for a state take over of the UMP. This sarcastic reference is inspired by the Socialist government’s use of nationalisation as a weapon of mass dissuasion in reference to the standoff with the steel giant ArcelorMittal over the future of furnaces in Florange.

The cover story in this week’s L’Express is “Sarkozy and the kamikazes, chronicle of an extraordinary hatred”. The right-leaning magazine has an edited photograph of Copé and Fillon shouting at each other with ex-President Nicholas Sarkozy watching in disbelief.

According to the magazine, Sarkozy, who had wanted to stay clear of politics, is now forced to dive back into the swamps as he seeks to prevent the implosion of his party.

L’Express doubts whether Jean-Francois Copé and François Fillon are in any mood to listen to him.

Le Figaro Magazine describes Sarkozy as an angry man. For the magazine, he has done everything he can to restore a sense of reason to the two warring clans. The journal didn't hold back by calling François Fillon and Jean-Francois Copé: “the poor loser and the cheat”.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

Le Figaro believes Copé and Fillon took their fight to such a level because their ideological beliefs are so similar.

This week’s Le Point recalls the “great hatreds” that have marked not just the life of the UMP, but that of France since the French revolution. Notable references include the duels to death involving sworn enemies such Jacques Chirac and Valery Giscard d’Estaing, and Nicolas Sarkozy’s own fights with Dominique de Villepin that got him swearing to hang the famous ex-foreign minister on a butcher's hook.

Le Canard Enchainé
brands Sarkozy as “a pyromaniac fireman”. The satirical weekly was convinced by remarks Sakozy made while discussing the UMP crisis with a friend. He blamed Fillon and Copé for messing up things while "roasting" themselves, virtually eliminating themselves from the 2017 presidential elections.

Le Canard also warns that anyone scheming to take over the UMP will find a party deep in debt with a bank loan of 56 million euros to settle. If François Fillon leaves the UMP, it says, the shortfall in government contributions will be 4 million euros.

According to the satirical weekly, that is part of the money Jean-Francois Copé promised the micro parties that voted for him.

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