French weekly magazines review

Text by: William Niba
5 min

The French weeklies are dominated by French politics. President Nicholas Sarkozy is very much under the glare again. He is the cover story in Le Point, with “Malediction” as the headline. The right-wing magazine makes new revelations about how his four years in the Elysée Palace have been “a descent to hell”.



Le Point runs excerpts from Franz-Olivier Giesbert’s new book Monsieur le Président. It’s a tragic account of how Sarkozy became an “odious democratic dictator” and why he can still redeem himself.

Le Point also publishes an interesting article about how French Socialist Party chief Martine Aubry has been polishing her image ahead of her party’s presidential primaries later this year.

The magazine explains that she has worked astutely to restore discipline in the party notorious for egotism and political squabbling and for securing a consensus on the party’s 30-point programme for 2012.  Le Point, however, discredits the project as “a great leap backwards”, an attempt to make France an island of free-spending in Europe, at a time when countries like Spain are enforcing austerity budgets and shaping up to face the global economic crisis.

The left-leaning Le Nouvel Observateur hails the party's "elephants" - its well-known leaders - for “joining their trunks”. The magazine states that it is a miracle that the contentious Socialist factions managed to adopt the project without any commotion. Le Nouvel Obs stresses the 12 most attractive measures contained in the manifesto and those who worked hard to make them acceptable to all – citing Laurent Fabius, Vincent Peillon, Manuel Valls, Henri Emmanuelli, Benoit Hamon and François Hollande as the main architects.
The ex- first secretary of the Socialist leader has announced his bid to contest the Socialist primaries and that receives spotlight treatment in l’Express. A portrait of Hollande is splashed across the centre pages of the magazine and his pledge to incarnate a wedding between the left and France.

Hollande, who was recently elected president of the Corrèze region, tells the magazine how he has prepared his youth-driven emergency plan for France. He also takes questions about his new family life since breaking up with former presidential candidate Ségolène Royale and talks extensively about his relations with late president François Mitterrand, Jacques Chirac and Nicholas Sarkozy.

Le Monde's weekly supplement is all about Nicholas Hulot, the French ecologist and TV personality preparing to run in the 2012 presidential elections.

The sharp-shooting producer of the nature documentary series Ushuaïa is set to announce his bid for the Elysée next week. Le Monde tells it all, his career path, a photographic presentation of his friends and networks, his passions, his likes and dislikes.

Over 60 per cent of polled citizens favour Hulot as flag-bearer of the European Ecology and Greens party ticket in the 2012 elections over Eva Joly, according to the latest Ifop poll. Le Monde reports that despite his huge wealth and a monthly salary of over 30,000 euros, Hulot is a rich, lonely creature living a discreet life void of any ostentation.

Le Point has an enriching article on the Ivorian president-elect Alassane Ouattara. The internationally-backed Ivorian leader has transformed a lot from the chief to statesman writes the paper. It names eight personalities, including Sarkozy among Ouattara’s   staunchest supporters as he battles to oust incumbent Laurent Gbagbo from the country’s

Le Nouvel Observateur offers some insight about how France went to war in Côte d’Ivoire.

The magazine singles out Laurent Gbagbo’s systematic defiance of the international community as what pushed Paris to pull the trigger. It points out that Alassane Ouattara knew right from the start that the only language Gbagbo understands is the use of force. The magazine slams the international community for acting too late which allowed assassins to enter the fray.

L’Express also runs a four-page dossier on the blood-letting in Côte d’Ivoire.  

The publication traces the history of the conflict from Alassane Ouattara’s adopted home in Upper Volta, now Burkina Faso down to Côte d’Ivoire. Le Nouvel Obs, underlines that he held an Upper Volta passport during his school days and carried out several assignments for that country as a civil servant, which caused his eviction from the Ivorian presidential elections in 2000.

L’Express points out the paradox that it was under president Henri Konan Bédié, his political partner today that his Ivorian citizenship was questioned. The magazine reveals that Ouattarra briefly considered setting up his own capital in Yamoussoukro but changed his mind for fear it would facilitate the partitioning of the country

L’Express makes a startling revelation about Sarkozy’s past relationship with Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi.


Sarkozy enjoyed some good moments with the Libyan guide according to the right-leaning magazine.

It recalls off-the-record exchanges between the two men who met several times since president Sarkozy came to office. There is an account of a chat about Kadhafi calling Sarkozy “my brother” , during which he explained how he has transformed from nationalist, to socialist and then abandoned terrorism. Le Point also publishes a quote by Sarkozy promising to help Kadhafi reintegrate the international community.

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