France

French press review 21 April 2014

Just two national dailies to hand this Bank Holiday Monday...

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Le Monde gives pride of place to President François Hollande's promise that his political destiny is linked to the employment statistics. If the number of unemployed continues to rise, Hollande told workers at the Michelin tyre factory on Friday, he would see no reason to stand for re-election in 2017.

Friday was not a good day for the man at the helm, since the president saw another key member of his inner circle, his political advisor Aquilino Morelle, forced to resign on allegations that Morelle's position at the Social Affairs ministry in 2007 could have put him in a dubious position with regard to the pharmaceutical industry.

The same President Hollande is in better form on the front page of Le Figaro where he's seen welcoming the four French journalists released after ten months' captivity in Syria.

Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catolic Church, makes both front pages. It is Easter, after all, the biggest weekend in the catholic calendar.

Le Monde sees the new pontif as following in the footsteps of Pope John Paul ll, both men ardently campaigning against a world ruled, some would say ruined, by money and driven by the demands of economic liberalism. Francis is a great communicator, using the media to promote an image of himself and the church he is trying to reform.

But, warns Le Monde, the catholic church is an incredibly conservative organisation, operating on a time-scale much longer than the sell-by dates on individual popes. Francis the reformer will find he has a fight on his hands.

Algeria's newly re-elected president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, is still making the front pages.

Not only will the weekend deaths of 11 soldiers, killed in a terrorist ambush in Kabylie, put further strain on the new administration, broadly supported by the army, but not by the intelligence services.

There is also the opposition claim that last week's election was a complete fraud.

Ali Benflis, who got 12 per cent of votes against Bouteflika's 82 per cent, has called for something called a "patriotic re-grouping to serve the republic". In contemporary Algeria, that's fighting talk.

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