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French press review 28 March 2014

With the second round of French local elections just three days away, all the papers lead with the story this morning and the main contenders are leaving no stone unturned in the final push to bring out the vote on Sunday.

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Libération says the Socialist-led coalition in power is resigned to its fate after the Constitutional Court censured a landmark law - the “ Florange law” - obliging proprietors of companies to keep their workers informed once their businesses are facing bankruptcy.

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The setback came as France’s jobless figures surged by 0.9 per cent in February to a new record of 3.34 million - 31,500 new job-seekers in a single month - meaning a rise of 420,000 since President François Hollande took office in May 2012.

In today’s editorial, right-wing Le Figaro slams the Florange law, a symbol of the amateurism and dogmatism that has marred the ways of the Socialist-led government since it came to power, it feels.

Le Figaro believes the Front National stands ready to capitalise on an expected disaster for the Socialists. The far-right party has a target of 1,000 councillors and victories in several former left-wing bastions. For the paper, the Front National is poised to capitalise on the momentum of the municipal elections, hoping to use it as a stepping stone for upcoming European elections in May and presidential polls in 2017.

Aujourd’hui en France says the Socialists have already lost any hope of a massive return of its voters to the polling stations for the second round ballot.

For Catholic daily La Croix the issue is no longer whether the right will win but how large the “blue wave” will be.

L’Humanité has been analysing the abstention rate, observing that the spectacular disaffection of voters recorded during the first round was not caused by an appetite for right-wing policies but the unquenched thirst for left-wing policies. The Communist Party daily says it is ample proof that social-liberal austerity policies pursued by the Elysée do not have the support of the people.

It brandishes the victory of the Communists in 49 towns with more than 10,000 inhabitants as evidence that French people’s hearts are still situated on the left. It launches a fervent appeal to the desperate people who boycotted the first round to come out and prevent the conservatives and Front National from getting the mandate they need to scrap vital public services.

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Libération raises an alert about the worsening problem of French jihadists trooping to Syria. It has laid its hands on random jottings by members of a “very dangerous” Islamist cell, tracing French combatants fighting in Syria to a group based in the Parisian suburb of Torcy. The documents include information gathered about the terrorists over the past 16 months. The paper reports that most of the recruits are in insecure jobs and are attracted by a simplistic vision of the world, perceived as inhabited by believers and the impious.

Libé’s revelations come on the heels of a new video shot by members of a “French brigade” of jihadis that documents the atrocities they committed in Syria. Libé reports that the 21st member of the Torcy cell was arrested last month as he returned home from Syria with a dozen others being he
 

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