French weekly magazines review

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy dominates comments in the French magazines this week.


If you loiter around a barber’s shop for too long, you’ll end up getting a hair cut, so the old saying goes. But this may well be the price ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy will have to pay for being too cunning, less than two years after his re-election defeat.

Sarkozy is Le Canard Enchainé’s man of the week again, he satirical weekly making new explosive revelations that he is being investigated for trying to pervert the course of justice. He is accused of allegedly trying to obtain secret information about an ongoing court case from a friendly judge.

Background reading: Previous French scandals

LeCanard report was published in the same week Sarkozy petitioned a Paris court to stop the publication of conversations secretly-taped by his former political advisor Patrick Buisson during his time as President.

L’Express says the legal action mounted by Sarkozy was not aimed at protecting his privacy as he claims but to avoid damaging revelations about a string of graft cases, from surfacing.

Le Canard Enchaîné also sheds light on a new twist to the "Sarkoleaks" scandal, with allegations from opposition UMP leaders that that the Socialist government had been spying on its opponents. Their attacks were directed at the French Justice Minister, Christiane Taubira, accused of allegedly lying about when she knew Sarkozy's phone was being tapped.

Le Canard however says all of this is mere diversion. The main problem facing Sarkozy is the ongoing suspicions of illegal campaign funding he allegedly received from France's richest woman, Lilliane Bettencourt, and former Libyan leader Colonel Kadhafi; not to mention allegations of corruption in the Karachi affair.

The list of scandals is endless, writes L’Express. The right-wing publication wonders how Sarkozy ended up in such a mess in the first place. It says no one would have been any wiser if his advisor hadn't recorded his conversations, and if French judges hadn't eavesdropped on his phone calls. For L’Express, the two scandals have ruined his political fortunes, and compromise his plans for a come-back in 2017.

Dossier - The Bettencourt scandal

Le Figaro Magazine claims Sarkozy is the victim of a witch hunt. It presents the judges who are after him and who went to the extent of tapping his phone, including that of his lawyer. The daily claims that Sarkozy’s friends accuse President François Hollande- no stranger to the harsh glare of the media spotlight,- of being obsessed with his predecessor.

The mounting drama, the tape recordings and retaliation threats, which are poisoning the political atmosphere are the clearest sign of a declaration of war, say Le Point. According to the weekly, some of Sarkozy’s friends now describe him as a wild animal being tracked down by hunters while others are asking him to stop dithering and get back into politics.

Le Nouvel Observateur says Sarkozy is scared and it knows why. It argues that while everybody has been eavesdropping on him, his attempts to play the victim have fallen flat. For the left-leaning magazine at the hour of reckoning and judicial retribution, the former Head of State stands betrayed by his party with not a single dignitary of the right willing to defend his honour.

With French local elections just days away, Marianne is yelling at everyone to strip off.  It accuses parties and their candidates of lacking ideas, coherence, uprightness and at times, blatent honesty. The spectacle offered by politicians on the eve of voting is simply pitiful it says. From left to right, all parties look politically naked, it concludes.


Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning