French press review 16 July 2011

Saturday’s French press is dominated by the so-called Eva Joly affair. The Green candidate for next year's presidential vote sparked an outrage in conservative circles, when she suggested scrapping the traditional 14 July military parade. French Prime Minister Francois Fillon led the assault quipping that the French Norwegian lacks a very longstanding sense of French traditions, French values, French history

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L'Union/L'Ardennais calls the remarks by the former anti-graft judge a serious political error that brings out the impulsive nature of her character. Eva Joly is an ex-magistrate who led a probe into one of France's biggest corruption scandals.

Left-leaning Libération denounces the “blow below the belt” delivered by Fillon, and describes his comments against Eva Joly as clearly xenophobic.

Fillon is just one of several ruling party officials who are trying to score political points from the affair, according to the paper. The others are President Sarkozy’s adviser, Henri Guaino, who described the remarks as "pathetic" and "an insult, Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire who called them "shocking”, UMP deputy, Lionel Tardy, who bluntly asked Joly to "go back” to Norway, following the line of the right-wing leader Marine Le Pen suggested .

L'Eclair des Pyrénées says the very suggestion that Bastille Day parade could be replaced by popular carnivals is simply ridiculous provocative and an insult to France’s soldiers.

Neighboring La République des Pyrénées disagrees. The newspaper states that "Eva Joly is a presidential candidate because she is French and fulfils the conditions to be eligible -- period".

Le Figaro underlines the political excitement provoked by the former corruption judge. The paper describes Madame Joly as the cactus of the Socialist party. Le Figaro points out that Joly’s proposal to replace the Bastille Day event with a civic parade is not likely to reassure the Socialist party about the future of their relations.

Politicians from the opposition socialists, while rejecting Joly’s proposal, have rushed to her defence. Libération’s listing, includes Green’s party Cécile Duflot, chief socialist presidential candidates Martine Aubry and François Hollande and lawmaker Pierre Moscovici who has called on Francois Fillon to apologise.

THE BATTLE FOR LIBYA

Le Courrier Picard says those involved in the polemics are belittling themselves. It explains that while Joly’s remarks are clearly a gaffe, the prime minister is unconsciously playing the game of the National Front leader Marine Le Pen when he refers to Eva Joly’s ignorance of the so-called republican ideals and French values.

Le Monde accuses the government of slowing down the development of solar energy in France. The paper points to legislation passed in December 2010 seeking the limitation of photovoltaic energy to 500 megawatts by 2020.

Le Monde says that leaves France facing the stunning prospects of standing out as the only European country that is losing jobs in the solar energy sector. According to Le Monde, the government policy is evidently a ploy to maintain nuclear industry which makes up 80 per cent of French energy needs as the main source of the country’s power.

Several French papers this Saturday wonder if Libya is likely to become France’s Afghanistan. The regional paper Sud-Ouest explains that the question is in many minds despite Friday’s decision by the Contact Group, recognizing the Transitional National council as the legitimate rulers of the country.

The move, it underlines, gives the TNC access to vital funds and Libyan state assets frozen under international sanctions. It is worrying, according to the paper, to see that Moamar Kadhafi is still hanging on in Tripoli, despite the decimation of his power machinery Sud-Ouest also blames President Sarkozy’s “egotist” adviser Bernard-Henri Lévy, for dragging France into the adventure.

The newspaper warns there is a real danger that the expedition be engulfed in the desert sand, which would hurt Sarkozy’s international stature and undermine his re-election prospects.

La Presse de la Manche wonders why it took up to four months for the legitimacy of the Libyan TNC to be internationally recognized. According to the paper, foreign intervention that is not backed by internal support will not deliver the democratic aspirations of the Libyan people.

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