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French press review 27 October 2018

On the day that Brazil elects its president -- who, if the polls are to be believed, will probably be far-right Jair Bolsonaro -- French newspapers comment on the rise of nationalism in the world today. Editorialists also question France's education system.


Right-wing Le Figaro questions France's new measures on national community service for 16-year-olds - one of President Emmanuel Macron's campaign promises.

All youngsters around 16 will have to spend a month doing community service and then, if they so desire, enrol on a voluntary basis in other national services, including the military.

Le Figaro questions whether the insfrastructure is in place to handle the hundreds of thousand of youngsters involved.

Where will they be sent? Who will teach or guide them? What will they be taught?

School gun video

Pertinent questions in the wake of the recent debate concerning France's rebellious youth -- another subject in the French papers today.

It all started earlier this month, when a video of a student threatening his teacher with a fake gun went viral.

This created waves of support for schoolteachers in Paris's poor suburbs, which have a reputation for violence and drug-trafficking.

France's Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer has responded by saying that police may be stationed at problem schools.

Regional daily Le Journal de la Haute-Marne says that modern society has, in a certain way, normalised violence and that the authorities are in part responsible.

Northern newspaper Le Républicain Lorrain says that the education minister has become France's top cop, a term usually reserved for France's interior minister

Southern daily Nice-Matin cites 19th-century French political figure Jules Ferry, who proposed free and secular schooling for all.

In the 20th century, school was thus a meeting ground between rich and poor, says Nice-Matin.

But today, in the 21st century, France's educational system itself has been compromised, the paper opines.

Brazil's Bolsonaro - a return to fascism?

Many French newspapers agree that the world is taking a definite turn towards nationalism and extremism.

These opinions are brought on by the predicted victory of far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil's presidential elections on Sunday.

Centrist daily Le Monde features picture of a rather smug-looking Bolsanaro on its front page.

"At the gates of power," headlines the paper.

According to Le Monde, the far-right candidate, who is nostalgic about Brazil's dictatorship years, is nearly certain to win Sunday's election.

Left-wing newspaper Libération also mentions Bolsonaro, but on a stronger note.

It features an illustration of a huge monster eating up the people, in Brazilian colours of dark blue, green and yellow.

The headline reads "National populism, a world contagion".

The paper says that in Brazil, Turkey, Philippines, the USA and Europe, democracy has given rise to nationalist and populist leaders who are taking over governments or are rising in opinion polls.

Libération believes this results from a feeling of defiance against elites and from rising xenophobia.

Regional newspaper Les Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace perhaps uses the strongest language

It says that leaders like Hungary's Victor Orban, Italy's Matteo Salvini or Donald Trump may be populists but are not fascists.

But with Brazil's Bolsonaro, says the paper's editorial, the world has passed on to the next step.

Populism has moved on to fascism, says editorialist Pascal Coquis.

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