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French press review 1 June 2013

Text by: William Niba
5 min

France’s main opposition party, the UMP, claws its way to the front pages this morning as it holds primaries to pick its flag bearer for the 2014 municipal elections in Paris.

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The UMP house is not in order, says Aujourd’hui en France, as the right-wing party holds a US-style primary for its candidate for Paris mayor amid suspicions that the system is open to fraud and calls from one of the candidates for a suspension of the internet voting system.

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The newspaper quotes would-be candidate Pierre-Yves Bournazel as saying he will not condone a vote conducted under opaque and flawed conditions.

The casting of ballots is happening in an atmosphere of confusion, admits Le Figaro, relaying complaints filed by front-runner Nathalie Kosciuszko-Morizet about intimidation of her campaign.

Libération agrees that the UMP primaries are turning into a fiasco. The left-leaning newspaper says it had expected to see a boisterous UMP, going to the polls invigorated by the anti-gay marriage movement.

Libé notes that anti-gay marriage sentiments are still very strong in conservative bastions such Rennes, Strasbourg and Lyon where the battle against the law has given birth to a new breed of party activist.

Le Figaro expects law and order to become a key issue in local council elections come 2014. It points to the worsening situation in Marseille where mothers are staging a protest march this Saturday to demand protection for children who have been collateral victims in tit-for-tat killings between drug gangs.

Libération says the mothers are tired of accompanying children to their graves. Up to 57 per cent of French citizens see law and order as a serious issue, observes Le Figaro. The right-wing newspaper says that left-wing mayors are aware of this and have started arming local police, reinforcing their ranks and resorting to surveillance cameras to keep pace with the problem

It is thanks to video footage that police were able to track down French Islamist convert Alexandre Dhaussy who stabbed a French soldier at the busy Parisian commercial complex La Défense last weekend.

Today’s Libération sent out teams to the Parisian suburb of Bois-de-l’Etang de la Verrière, where the 22-year-old Dhaussy become a radicalised Muslim. Acquaintances described him as a reserved, solitary young man, working at a local butcher’s shop. Libé also finds out that, while had a record of petty crimes, police never saw him as a radical Islamist or as a cold-blooded terrorist.

Le Figaro takes a look at President François Hollande’s exclusive interview with RFI and our sister television channels France 24 and TV5, especially his remarks concerning France’s commitment to break with the controversial “Françafrique” policy.

France's operation in Mali, while touted as a military success, will not reap any long-lasting results if the political component is not delivered through elections in Mali in July, it says.

After Mali Hollande faces another challenge from jihadi terrorism in southern Libya. That must be eradicated before he can declare victory, according to Le Figaro.

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