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French press review 5 June 2012

Text by: Marjorie Hache
4 min

Presidential portraits, low-cost trains and loneliness are some of the topics covered in  today's French newspapers...

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Ahead of France's legislative elections, the front page of left-leaning Libération asks "Could the left lose?". The front page also features the un-imposing photo of France's new Socialist president François Hollande... Every time a new president is elected, a new portrait is taken and put up in local registry offices, schools and so on. François Hollande, like Jacques Chirac before him, chose to have the photo taken in the grounds of the Elysée palace.

Parliamentary elections 2012

According to Aujourd'hui en France, it's "the official portrait of a normal president" and it certainly looks like he's just strolling down the street ...But enough about the president's appearance.

Libé is focusing on this month's legislative elections. It says Hollande and the Left are favourites after a poll conducted for the paper showed that François Hollande's popularity was up by 62 per cent. "Will this translate in the parliamentary elections?" asks the paper before warning about the risks of abstention and how well far right party, the National Front will do.

Most French papers are also looking at who French citizens abroad will be voting for with many reports favouring the Left. Five days to go before round one to see if these predictions come true.

Le Monde is concerned with the situation in Mali. It fears the country could turn into the Somalia of west Africa. With a double division it's easy to see why, The MNLA, or the movement for the liberation of Azawad, has cut ties with the Al Qaeda-linked Ansar Eddine, who are trying to turn the whole of Mali into an islamic state with Sharia law, while down in Bamako it's unclear who really is in charge following the 22 March coup.

Le Monde has an interview with Nina Walet Intalou, the only woman who is a member of the MNLA's executive board. Currently based in Nouakchott, she's calling on the international community to help combat a common enemy. Libération also looks at the deadlock in Mali and notes that one of the things at stake is the identity of Islam in Mali.

Catholic La Croix has a dossier about loneliness in France. Apparently one in five young people suffer from loneliness with 19 per cent of 18-35 year olds saying they feel forced into solitude. The paper looks at the vicious circle whereby when alone, one loses confidence and becomes withdrawn.

Making friends, say some of the people questioned by La Croix, is taxing financially and emotionally. The paper also compares loneliness in France to loneliness in Japan where it's supposed to have become a way of life, as new technologies bring about less interaction between people. On a more positive note, for train-lovers and those who don't have much money to spend on travel.....

After low-cost airlines, France could soon have low-cost high-speed trains, according to Les Echos. The National train company, the SNCF is hoping to have this service ready by early 2013. It would be a way of attracting new customers and a new way of working and being more productive. Stations that aren't used much would become new hubs and controllers would be able to go home at night.

What would this mean for customers if they decide to travel low-cost? New trains, but packed trains, non-refundable tickets and extra fees for bringing on board more than one piece of luggage. The article doesn't mention a potential price tag but for that kind of service it better be dirt cheap...

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