France

Right and hard left slam Hollande's TV appearance

Reuters/France 2
Text by: Tony Cross
3 min

Nearly eight million people watched President François Hollande’s lengthy interview with a star TV presenter on Thursday evening - lower than the almost 10 million who watched him last September. Right-wing opponents slammed his performance ... and some on the left weren't impressed, either.

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The average audience for the whole of Hollande’s interview with France 2 TV channel’s presenter David Pujadas was eight million, according to the Médiamétrie monitoring institute, with 9.16 million tuned in at its high point, about half way through.

Hollande’s share of the audience was 29.1 per cent.

In September 2012 9.9 million watched a half-hour interview on TF1, the country’s most popular channel, giving Hollande a 41.1 per cent audience share.

Whether non-viewers were put off by the length of the interview or had just lost interest in what the president has to say, the decline echoes Hollande’s fall in the opinion polls, from 53 per cent approval rating when he was elected to 27 per cent on Thursday.

Politicians’ reactions were predictable:

  • Government spokesperson Najat Vallaud-Belkacem was impressed by the president’s “quiet authority” - his performance “What the French were expecting, what they needed,” she declared;
  • Right-wing UMP party leader Jean-François Copé was unimpressed by Hollande’s folksy reference to his economic policies as a “toolbox” – “What is the president of the republic now? Someone in a garage repairing the bodywork?”;
  • Ex-prime minister François Fillon, also of the UMP, judged Hollande to be “not a president who’s fighting the crisis but a president who’s making it worse”;
  • Hard-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon claimed that Hollande had “made a completely mistaken diagnosis” of the economic crisis and that that shows “he doesn’t understand the mechanisms of finance at all”.

In more bad news for Hollande, data released on Friday showed the 2012 public deficit at 4.8 per cent, below the government’s 4.5 per cent target, and public debt at 1.8 trillion euros, 90.2 per cent of GDP compared to 85.8 per cent in 2011.

Hollande accepted a European Union target to reduce the deficit to 3.0 per cent in 2013 but the government says it is now likely to stand at 3.7 per cent at the end of the year.

During the broadcast Hollande said that he will tax companies who pay bosses over a million euros per year at 75 per cent after his campaign pledge for such a tax rate on individuals was blocked by the Constitutional Council.

A closer look at the broadcast will follow on the RFI English-language site.

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