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French weekly magazines review

Text by: William Niba
5 min

The French weeklies are dominated by the Libyan crisis, the French economy, the battle for the French presidency and the Dominique Strauss-Kahn affair.


Marianne examines the military victory of the Nato-backed rebels, after their six-month bombing campaign as well as the political uncertainties resulting from Moamer Kadhafi’s downfall.

The allies accomplished their mission without deploying any ground troops claims L’Express.

But it admits that the French intelligence agency foiled several assassination attempts against top members of the National Transitional Council by intercepting communications from Tripoli to the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

Le Point profiles the young combattants who plotted the fall of the capital Tripoli and who are now celebrating their victory from the ruins of Kadhafi’s golden palaces.

Le Nouvel Observateur says Tripoli is a city without water and electricity, paying the price of new-found liberty.

As guerrillas roam the streets to restore some sense of order, the magazine says the posh homes belonging to the veteran dictator, his sons and cronies have all been looted and priceless objects carted away in pick-up trucks protected by machine guns.

Marianne urges the victorious parties in the Libyan conflict to desist from any precipitated triumphalism. The left-leaning newspaper says a new delicate period of multi-regional rivalries has begun in this country that has never known democracy.


The weekly says the heterogeneous character of the insurgents and the Islamists ties of some of their leaders could prevent the advent of the democratic state, which the Western Allies are yearning for.

As Kadhafi’s portraits are being burnt in Libya, Marianne undertakes a head count of the world’s last autocrats.

Marianne picked out 27 so-called enlightened “apparatchiks, blood-thirsty liberators and 'daddy’s son' tyrants”, who are not reading the writing on the wall. It describes Basher al-Assad of Syria as the “butcher of Damascus”, a vampire feeding on the blood of his people.

According to Marianne, despite the continuing bloodshed, there won’t be any UN resolution to protect civilians in Syria, because of the regime’s so-called useful strategic role in the Middle East.

Marianne says forget it. Nato just won’t send war planes against the protégé of Vladmir Poutine and Hu Jintao.

French president Nicolas Sarkozy is the cover story of Le Point and the weekly wonders if he isn’t on course to get re-elected. The close up is motivated by Sarkozy’s diplomatic triumphs on the world stage and the fighting spirit he is showing against several odds.

Three prominent writers, who are regular visitors at the Elysée palace, told Le Point, that "the Libyan hero" will stop at nothing to win come 2012.

Le Nouvel Observateur says his strategy is simple: get people to forget the "Omni-president" that made him so unpopular and heal the wounds opened by his own very conduct.

Brice Teinturier, who heads the French pollster Ipsos, says the incumbent sits in the same situation as Valery Giscard d’Estaing in 1980. He is unpopular, his party rocked by fierce rivalries, and his term of office beset by an unprecedented economic crisis.

Marianne publishes excerpts of a new book about Sarkozy which is the sensation of the summer.

It is titled “Mister President, Don’t stand again” by a prominent journalist, Denis Jeambar. The author who once enjoyed close ties with Sarkozy, mows him down from angles and issues untreated before.

Another book, just out, titled "Sarkozy m’a Tuer" or “Sarkozy killed me” gave the floor to 27 officials including former friends banished by Sarkozy.

They include an ex-accountant to French billionaire Liliane Bettencourt. She refused to testify on allegations that she saw Sarkozy receive money from the tycoon, citing death threats.

Le Nouvel Observateur’s own cover story is François Hollande, the frontrunner in the socialist race for the presidency.

The left-leaning magazine culled key parts of a new Hollande biography, published to spice up his campaign for president. They include his upbringing, his ambitions for France, his relationship with fellow presidential candidate Ségolène Royal and how he is shaping up for president.

L’Express pops questions about the consequences of Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s homecoming on the Socialist Party.

Dossier: The Strauss-Kahn affair rocks France, IMF

According to the right-wing journal, he was the invincible champion of the socialists, the man who would have delivered the Elysée palace to them, but now he is an embarrassment to his party.

L’Express publishes the full report submitted by the New York prosecutor Cyrus Vance explaining why he dropped all charges against DSK.

The magazine says that while he may be off-the-hook, Vance’s submissions haven’t answered questions about what really happened in the New York hotel room. That, it says, is troubling to many people in his party and outside and he must explain himself and very quickly.

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