French press review 16 May 2012

Frank Hollande, the man who has become the seventh president of France's fifth republic, has a busy day ahead of him.


There's a lot of red carpet on this morning's French front pages. With the new French president, François Hollande, marching down the middle of it, on his way to yesterday's hand-over of the keys to the presidential palace.

Catholic La Croix's main headline is the straightforward "François Hollande's first steps". Yesterday's opening moves involved naming Jean-Marc Ayrault as prime minister and meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Left-leaning Libération says Hollande used every available moment to mark the break with the style and sense of his predecessor.

That's roughly the sense of the front page of communist L'Humanité where the headline, with typical L'Humanité understatement, reads "End of the road for the Rolex presidency". Actually, it doesn't say anything of the sort. But that's what it would say, if it was in English, and if I was writing the headline. Stop whingeing.

Right-wing Le Figaro takes the biscuit for stating the obvious with a main headline saying "Hollande starts his presidency on the left".

The right-wing paper sees yesterday's inaugural speech and the symbols chosen by the new president as clear attempts to mark the end of a regime seen as being tainted by self-interest, an excessive presidential pressure on the rest of the legislative machinery and too much respect for those with lots of money.

Business daily Les Echos welcomes Jean-Marc Ayrault, the "quiet man" who is the new French prime minister. The rest of the government will be named today.

On its inside pages, Le Monde reports that Enrico de Pedis will shortly be changing address.

Enrico, known to his friends as Renatino, used to run a Roman gang called the Magliana, specialising in protection, robbery, prostitution and the retail sale of various controlled substances.

But Renatino was a God-fearing fellah, who gave a lot of his ill-gottens to charitable works.

Which is why, on his untimely death (he was murdered by a business rival in 1990) Enrico de Pedis, also known as Il Dandi, was burried in the Church of St Apollinaris, right in the heart of the Vatican, a space he shares with dead popes, cardinals and archbishops.

Now, Enrico's to be dug up and will spend the rest of eternity with the ordinary dead in a Roman cemetery.

Renatino's mama said her son was always good to the poor. The monsignor who ran the church which has housed his mortal remains for the past 22 years said Enrico was particularly good to the young, taking particular interest in their Christian upbringing.

In 1983, Enrico de Pedis is believed to have organised the kidnapping of 15-year-old Emanuela Orlandi, the daughter of a high-ranking Vatican official. The affair remains mysterious to this day, but one theory has it that Renatino loaned the Vatican a lot of cash when Jean Paul ll was in charge and said Polish pope sent said cash to his Solidarnosc mates in Poland, who were struggling to defeat Communism.

Trouble was, the Vatican was a bit slow with the repayments, so Enrico kidnapped the unfortunate child in order to remind the Holy See that they had better pay up, pronto.

Renatino's former mistress claims that the 15-year-old was subsequently shot dead and dumped, with a complete lack of originality, in a concrete mixer.

Particularly good to the young, indeed.

Now the wise rulers of the Roman Catholic Church have decided to part company with the remains of a dubious benefactor without offering to shed more light on the question of the money sent to Polish trade unions.

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