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French weekly magazines review

Text by: William Niba
4 min

One thing is glaringly evident in this week's magazines - President Nicholas Sarkozy and his one-time possible opponent Dominique Strauss-Kahn have not made it to the cover pages. However politics remain the common bait dangled in front of readers.

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Less than a year away from the 2012 presidential elections, tthe Socialists are preparing for primaries to choose their flagbearer.
 
Le Point presents the five candidates in the race, how their family backgrounds and training has shaped their political careers
 
According to the right-wing magazine, the front runner François Hollande and party chief Martine resemble each otehr in their Catholic and bourgeois backgrounds, yet they differ in character.

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Aubry stands out as a warm, generous but stern politician while Hollande is a smart, good-humoured, and popular consensus-seeker. The magazine claims that he is unfortunately unlikeable to the Socialist party “elephants” - the party's powerbrokers - who are mostly backing Aubry.
 
Le Point also offers interesting depictions of the other contenders. Former presidential candidate Ségolène Royal is presented as an iconoclast, Evry mayor Manuel Valls as a sharpshooter and the young lawmaker Arnaud Montebourg  as an anti-globaliser.
 
The Socialists will seek to make political capital from what Le Nouvel Observateur describes as the cronyism of the Sarkozy presidency.
 
The left-leaning weekly recalls that Sarkozy came to power promising to restore a republic that was irreproachable, but has ended up creating bogus structures that have allowed his friends and ex-cabinet ministers to continue treading the corridors of power. One example is Luc Ferry, the former education minister who kept earning his salary as a university professor despite skipping a year of lectures, under the pretext that he has been busy heading an ethics committee at the prime minister’s office.
 
An example of abuse of privilege is the cover story in this week’s Le Canard Enchaîné
The paper pours scorn on the ex-junior cabinet minister George Tron who has had to put the town where he is mayor on auto-pilot, while under police detention for sexual assault. 
 
Le Canard also makes a revelation about an explosive secret report, which the environment ministry ordered but won’t publish. Experts have discovered serious and dangerous defects in the batteries mounted on the much-touted electric cars. That puts the electric car market under high tension.
 
Le Point takes to task the French retail sector, the so-called grand distributors who are conspiring against producers and consumers in their quest for profit.
 
Ther magazine tells everything about the racket taking place in the supermarkets. According to the weekly, it is a ruthless grinding machine that has seen distributors fixing commodity prices, strangling and manipulating producers and consumers alike. Some experts told the magazine that the shops operate as a cartel and one farmer broke the silence and told Le Point how arrogant distributors threatened to push him into bankruptcy if he didn’t accept their prices
 
L’Express, runs an interesting dossier on how the French are perceived by the Americans.
 
The couple have known each other two centuries, dating back to General Le Fayette’s military expedition to support the American independence struggle in 1861 and the inauguration in 1865 of the Stature of Liberty donated to the American people by the French. .
 
The weekly believes the relationship has been quite passionate, the Americans falling for Molière’s chic language. Maybe not argues Justin Vaîsse, who heads the America-Europe research centre at Brooklyn. Vaîsse points to persisting suspicions and the perception in America that the Frenchies are corrupt and arrogant.
 
L’Express, however, argues that over the past 10 years the love-hate relationship had been heading for better rather than for worse ... until the Strauss-Kahn affair.

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