France

Hollande's love life set to squeeze out economy at major press conference

Valérie Trierwieler with François Hollande
Valérie Trierwieler with François Hollande Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

French President François Hollande's alleged romantic escapades looked set to overshadow his plans to tackle France's economic woes at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. Hollande was hoping to show of his "responsibility pact" with the nation's employers but the world's media are buzzing about reports of an affair with actress Julie Gayet.

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Hollande has been unable to keep his private life out of the spotlight – even in France where the media has traditionally been reticent to pry into the personal lives of public

Background reading: Previous French scandals

figures - especially after his partner, Valerie Trierweiler, was admitted to hospital Sunday night for stress.

With Trierweiler still receiving medical attention, some media are claiming that the issue has moved out of the realm of the personal, as she is effectively a public figure with an office and staff funded by taxpayer money.

If she is willing to forgive him, polls show that the French public might be able to do the same - a survey over the weekend showed that three-quarters of French people think his love life is his own business.

That is unlikely to stop reporters asking about his personal life during the press conference, in which Hollande is due to give details about his plan to reduce social charges for employers who promise to hire and give details of the 15 billion euros of public spending cuts set out in the 2014 budget.

"One sentence about [the affair] and the press conference is dead," a minister commented off the record on Tuesday morning.

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