French press review 31 March 2015
More political fallout from last Sunday's departmental elections and France's sick medical stystem are among the sublects in this morning's French papers.
There's more analysis and recrimination in the wake of Sunday's second round in the French departmental elections, as the nation's editors continue to try to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
Le Monde says the conservative UMP-UDI alliance won 67 departments, ousting left-wing administrations in 28 of them.The far-right Front National won nothing outright but did manage to get 62 departmental councillors elected.
That's three consecutive electoral defeats for the ruling Socialists, counting last year's municipal and European polls. But, says Le Monde, the government's not for changing. Hollande and Valls are both singing from the same hymn sheet and the song is "get used to austerity, folks, because it's here to stay".
Over at right-wing Le Figaro, the political repercussions for the Socialists are the main item on the menu. Le Figaro claims that this latest rejection by the electorate will give a boost to the disgruntled rebels in the party who have been refusing to support their own party on key social and economic issues.
The conservative paper's editorial is a classic piece of Figaro-fulmination, headlined "Another Two Years?"
Le Figaro likens the Sunday night aftermath to a poorly constructed piece of absurdist theatre, with a spluttering chorus of rebels, a rigidly smiling battalion of supporters of François Hollande and Manuel Valls, blithely predicting a better future in which no one else believes. The room is empty, the audience having heard it all before but that doesn't stop the actors from mechanically mouthing the lines.
If France was in sparkling form, it would all be mildly amusing. But given the real and parlous state of the country, this play-acting is dangerous and disastrous.
The Front National continues to progress faster that unemployment and the current account deficit or the level of taxation.
The tragedy, says Le Figaro, is that we have to put up with this tawdry drama for another two years.
Communist L'Humanité wonders what the left wing can learn from Sunday's defeat, especially in the light of the more than 170 councillors elected under the banner of Jean-Luc Mélenchon's Left Front. Crucially, according to the Communist Party daily, the left has to find a new direction, especially on the economic front, to enable a real unification against the conservatives.
Left-leaning Libération has a different pill to chew, devoting this morning's front page to a new health bill, to be debated later today at the National Assembly.
The bill has already made quite a few people ill, not least many French doctors who see the proposed legislation as a sneaky way of controlling their fees.
In fact, says Libé, this wide-ranging bill addresses a lot more than the issue of how much the French pay for medical care.
The basic idea is to modernise the French medical system. Tobacco-related illnesses, obesity, cancer and a long-anticipated update of the regulations surrounding abortion are the real keys to a debate which has been unfairly reduced by some practitioners to a question of how much we pay our doctors.
On its inside pages Libération looks at the questionable means deployed by the Berlin-based news magazine Bild to reveal details of the life of the copilot of the crashed Germanwings flight and to harass the families of some of the victims.
The magazine, which is a European best-seller, has had a team of 20 journalists working full-time since the crash, an approach which has enabled Bild to publish information before the official news releases from the French and German police.
The Bild method has been harshly criticised, particularly by the families of the 16 college students who lost their lives, many of whom were called by the paper'sjournalists for reactions in the hours after the announcement of the tragic news.
Says one Berlin police officer, referring to the fact that Bild journalists pay for tip-offs from the public, it is not rare for the journalists to arrive at certain crime scenes ahead of the police.