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French weekly magazines review

Text by: William Niba
5 min

The French weeklies are dominated by the affaire of the disgraced French budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac.

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He is threatening to beat the media blitz enjoyed by Dominique Strauss-Kahn during the New York hotel sex scandal. The problem is that Cahuzac has disappeared from the radar since his big confession that he had had secret bank accounts in Switzerland and Singapore.

Dossier: The Cahuzac affair

Le Canard Enchaîné broke the scandal even before Cahuzac’s rendezvous with the investigatng judge. The satirical weekly says transactions of more than a million euros were carried out on the account opened in the 1990s at the UBS bank before Cahuzac opted for a more discreet fiscal haven in Singapore.

Le Canard found out that the funds were transferred there in 2010, shortly after Cahuzac took over as chairman of the powerful finance commission in parliament. Under the provisions of French law Cahuzac would have been off the hook now, had the foreign bank account, which was opened more than 10 years ago, remained in the Swiss bank, it says.

“Ravages of the Cahuzac bomb”, gloats Le Nouvel Observateur. The left-leaning magazine publishes the unbelievable text message Cahuzac sent to President François Hollande.

“I was caught in a spiral of deceit,” it read.

What did the president know? it asks. Why did Cahuzac not step down earlier and what will be the political consequences of the scandal? These it says are indeed “tormenting questions” for Elysée Palace and the left-wing coalition in power.

Marianne is also squealing about the “Ravages of a republican disaster”.

“Doctor, it's serious,” it groans, while pressing Cahuzac to explain the well-paid ties with the pharmaceutical industry that date back to his time as adviser in the health ministry.

A Swiss television channel has reported that the assets Cahuzac tried to move to Singapore from UBS were not 600,000 euros but 15 million euros.

He is a real artist of falsehood jeers Le Point, scorning his “shocking betrayal of France”.

Le Figaro Magazine blames it all on what it describes as “the tinkerer at the Elysée Palace”. According to the right-wing weekly, the nation expected Hollande to be clad in battle fatigues, as befitted the Mali intervention, armed with a vision and war plan to tackle spiraling unemployment. Unfortunately, what they have is tinkerer who is using a nail cutter to resolve the debt crisis.

L’Express warns of the dangers of the "hysterical debate" being promoted by the centre-right opposition as well as its open flirtation with hard-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

Dossier - The Bettencourt scandal

Hollande, it argues, is not in trouble for reviving the free spending policies of former Socialist president François Mitterrand but for trying to patch up gaping holes, created by Hollande's predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, inn the hull of the French ship.

For L’Express the hard-line rhetoric is playing into the hands of ultra-radical groups yearning for a May 1968 type of revolt in France. It urges the opposition UMP party to tone down and stop feeding the rise of populism in France.

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