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French press review 5 September 2016

A controversial media commentator, a German election, the French president's image problems are some of the subjects in the French press today.



"Macron, Valls, Sarkozy, Fillon, Le Pen ... French identity, security, Islam ... if you, too, are sick of this mediocre soap opera that is polluting daily life after the summer holidays, you need to know you're not the only one."


So says this morning's editorial in the communist daily l'Humanité.

And, as if that's not enough, the paper complains, prepare yourselves for an even more shameful wave of media coverage on the return of Eric Zemmour, whose latest book is published this week.

Zemmour, a political journalist, essayist, TV and radio personality who is decidedly right-wing, outspoken and deemed politically incorrect by some, is one of the bêtes noires of the French left.

L'Humanité calls him "a useful idiot" and "un petit pétainiste" - a reference to Philippe Pétain, the French head of state from 1940 to 1944 who collaborated with the Nazi occupation and championed a return to traditional values of work, land, family, the Catholic religion.

Is l'Humanité really comparingZemmour to a Nazi collaborator?

Slap in the face for Merkel

Centrist Le Monde consider the results of a regional election in Germany, noting that "the far right inflicts a serious setback on Angela Merkel".

It is a brutal slap in the face for Merkel, the paper says.

But the result is not really a surprise.

All observers saw that the far-right, anti-immigrant party Alternative for Germany (AfD) party enjoyed strong momentum.

The vote is regional but the implications are much wider.

Le Monde quotes the AfD's spokesman in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania as saying "This is perhaps the beginning of the end of Angela Merkel."

The reason for the reversal is clear.

The paper reminds us that it is one year almost to the day since Merkel's famous "Wir schaffen das" "Let's do it" - that's to say accept hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants hammering on Germany's doors.

Since then more than a million have arrived; the influx is difficult to manage; it's costly; some arrivals have misbehaved and many Germans don't like it.

Can Hollande solve his image problem?

Right-wing Le Figaro also judges this the day's big story, telling us Merkel has been defeated by the populists.

So far, so obvious.

The paper's editorial, penned by Paul-Henri du Limbert, stays closer to home.

If President François Hollande had a rough battle to improve his image before next year's presidential election, he will have to change strategy, he opines.

The would-be candidates of the right have understood that it was not useful to use anathema and character assassination, the paper says.

This makes sense when voters express their exasperation with politicking and demand a real debate on the future of this country.

On the right, it is about the interpretation of "republican values". Accommodating or uncompromising? Accept the coexistence of cultures and lifestyles or stick stubbornly to the oneness and indivisibility of our value system?

On the left the landscape is remarkably different since the main players do not agree on anything, Le Figaro observes.

So much so that, willingly or unwillingly, more than a few ministers are gone - Arnaud Montebourg, Emmanuel Macron, Cécile Duflot, Benoît Hamon and Christiane Taubira.

All agree on one point, we must chase Hollande out of the Elysée nine months from now.

This is also the opinion of Nicolas Sarkozy, Alain Juppe, Francois Fillon, Bruno Le Maire and all others.

"What a lot of people," the writer declares.

Wow! Who'd be President of la France?

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