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French press review 1 May 2013

Le Monde is the only daily newspaper available here in France on May Day because it was printed yesterday and is dated tomorrow. In case you don't already know, nobody works in France on 1 May.

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The centrist paper's front page won't do anything for the holiday humour of President François Hollande. The headline reads "Hollande's horrible year," and there's a sidebar with a long list of depressing defeats and unsatisfying statistics.

On an inside page, Le Monde asks if it is possible to continue governing a country when you are so unpopular.

The sick joke is that the man who wanted to tax the super-rich at 75 per cent now finds himself with a 75 per cent negative rating in the popularity stakes.

That's an all-time record for a French president under the fifth constitution, adopted in 1958, and compares with Nicolas Sarkozy's 40 per cent approval rating at the same stage in the last presidency.

As for the question about whether you can still do the job while fooling so few of the people so little of the time, Le Monde says there is a real practical difficulty: with each new set-back for the Socialist leader, disaffected members of the left are more inclined to follow the far left and the Green Party into open opposition to the majority line, fearing that their personal political futures could be irreparably damaged by too close an association with a lame duck.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

It's not all bad news for François Hollande: 52 per cent of the French find the man himself "sympathetic", while half of them think he's "honest".

He falls down on his handling of the economic crisis and on efforts to increase spending power and reduce unemployment.

Speaking of the economic crisis, France is now officially the European champion in the taxation stakes, hammering business profits and those lucky enough to have what is called capital at an average rate of over 36 per cent, 10 per cent higher than the European average.

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