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French press review 13 October 2018

France continues nerve-wracking 11-day wait for cabinet reshuffle.


President Emmanuel Macron who returned from the Francophonie Summit on Friday, faces widespread criticism for failing to end the suspense over the much-awaited cabinet reshuffle.

Some political commentators attribute the delay to difficulties in finding new ministers.

Le Figaro says there is not a single political party that is spared by the painstaking screening process going on at the Elysée Palace.

The question bugging the minds of political strategists, it says, is whether to join President Macron now, at the opportunity presented by this cabinet reshuffle, a little bit later during next year's European elections or much later after the city council elections in 2020.

The conservative newspaper says proponents of the option of rejecting the carrot offered by Macron are just as confident about their fortunes and betting on the fact that the young Centrist leader will not recover from his diminished appeal.

Whatever the case, as Le Figaro explains, the political equation is not easy for everyone who from the right to the left are hostile or allergic the policies pursued by the likes of Republican leader Laurent Wauquiez.

From such a standpoint it argues, the awaited cabinet reshuffle will be at the same time a clarification and a complication of the French political landscape as it would wipe out any room for re-examination of the political cards on the table.

According to Le Télégramme, Monsieur Macron still stuck with the garments of a rich man's President is expected to hand one or two portfolios to left-leaning personalities.

The regional daily however believes he also needs to secure ties with the group of 45 Centrist MPs loyal to ex-Justice Minister and ally Francois Bayrou on which Prime Minister Édouard Philippe can depend in the event of a political crisis.

Libération wonders if it should laugh or cry over the continuing disintegration of the French Socialist party, after long time rebels Emmanuel Maurel et Marie-Noëlle Lienemann announced  on Thursday they were quitting the drifting boat to form what they describes as a real party of the left.

Libé says the musketeers are the seventh group of back benchers to lay claim to the mantle of the authentic Left, after the Indignant, the Greens, the French Communist Party, Générations and the New Anti-Capitalist Party.

According to Liberation, they are all applying an oddly amended biblical parable go forth and multiply.

The disappearance of Saudi-born journalist Jamal Khashoggi after entering the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul to get paperwork for his upcoming wedding, continues to generate reactions in the French press,10 days after he vanished.

Media reports have suggested Khashoggi was killed and dismembered by a hit squad which arrived from Riyadh -- claims denied by the Saudi government.

Charente Libre says after several days of silence Western arms suppliers to the Kingdom like the United States Britain and France have finally asked for an explanation from Riyadh, about what happened to the Washington Post columnist who had been living in self-imposed exile in the US since late 2017.

According to the newspaper, despite warnings from the West about grave consequences, Donald Trump has cynically set the limits of any eventual punitive measures against the Saudi despot by refusing to halt 110 billion dollars of arms sales to Riyadh which risk entering the pockets of the Chinese and Russians.

In La Charente’s opinion, what's most likely to happen to the Saudi crown Prince is a request from his Western allies to be more discreet the next time he eliminates opponents with impunity.


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