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French press review 16 November 2016

What is French former economy minister Emmanuel Macron widely expected to announce later today? Why are delegates to the Cop22 climate conference in Marrakesh getting hot under the collar? Will Matteo Renzi be the big loser in next month's Italian referendum?


Right-wing Le Figaro looks at the political left as former economy minister Emmanuel Macron is widely expected to announce later today that he's in the running for next year's presidential race.

"Macron overtakes Hollande and Valls" is the main headline, the story making it clear that the overtaking of the president and prime minister is a political manoeuvre, not the latest result of an opinion poll (Heaven forbid!).

Macron will get his word in one month ahead of the decision by the current president on his own future, a delay which is hampering the ambitions of some of Hollande's more loyal sevants, notably Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

And it's just before the final right-wing primary debate, with the first-round of voting due on Sunday.

Le Figaro says Macron's timing is an attempt to weaken the chances of Alain Juppé winning that first round by offering centrist voters a real alternative.

Socialist critics of Macron say his announcement will confirm his status as a sort of Brutus, once again stabbing the already-dead Hollande. What it certainly will confirm is Macron's refusal to run in the Socialist primary election, for which contenders have until the middle of next month to announce their intentions. Macron has said all along he has no intention of doing so. Today's declaration of his candidacy on the ticket of his new party En marche! ("Get moving", or simply "Working" in English) will mark the end of Macron's divorce from the Socialists.

Things heat up at Marrakesh climate talks

Catholic daily La Croix gives pride of place to the climate conference in Marrakesh, saying that the focus of Cop22 is to try and save the global deal agreed here in Paris at Cop21.

The reason it needs saving is that the American president-elect has not shown himself to be very keen on protecting the planet. Donald Trump is more keen on boosting US industry and has said that all this talk about global warming is a conspiracy by the Chinese to ensure world domination.

Trump has promised to take the United States out of the climate deal signed in Paris. The American team at Marrakesh doesn't know which way to turn, since they represent the Obama administration and have no idea what the new man at the helm will actually do once he takes up the reins of power.

Nobody is expecting good news.

Renzi puts political future on the line

Speaking of opinion polls, business paper La Tribune looks to Italy where supporters of a "No" vote are given as winning next Sunday's constitutional referendum. La Tribune wonders what that outcome, if it is confirmed at the polling stations, will mean for Italy and the government of Matteo Renzi.

The problem is an old one: voters are likely to miss the point, refusing to change a constitutional structure that was designed to prevent a post-war takeover by the Communists and simply ensured perennial instability. Next month's referendum could well be another protest vote, with Italians opposing their prime minister because they feel poor and powerless.

Says La Tribune, even a victory for the "Yes" camp won't necessarily help Renzi to sleep more easily. The Italian Constitutional Court could still declare that crucial elements in the new legislation are at variance with Italy's fundamental law.

Care for another slice of deer, dear?

The award for headline of the day goes to Libération for the chilling "In Japan, Bambi ends up as dog food".

The report says that tens of thousands of deer are killed every year by the authorities in Nagano, home of the 1998 Winter Olympics. The problem is that the animals ravage agricultural plantantations, to the tune of 1.6 million-euros-worth of damage every year.

Last year, culling did for 32,000 deer, most of them buried or incinerated. You need specialised abattoirs to deal with these creatures since their flesh becomes toxic if it is not processed within two hours of death. Plus, the locals are mostly out of the habit of cooking and eating deer, once a regional speciality.

Horrified by the waste, the town of Komoro has opened a part-time abattoir employing five people to deal with five deer per day. The hope is to increase the output to about 1,500 animals each year.

And what the locals can't eat will eventually end up in cans for cats and dogs. Hence the Libé headline. And the classic closing line to the article which reads: "The 101 Dalmatians guzzle Bambi".

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