French weekly magazines review

French President François Hollande just can’t keep away from trouble and the French magazines aren’t complaining. This time it is his political advisor Aquilino Morelle forced to step down after reports by the investigative website Mediapart that he breached ethical guidelines for public servants.

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The site says Morelle worked for pharmaceutical companies in 2007, while serving as a senior official in the ministry for social affairs.

Background reading: Previous French scandals

Mediapart also reports that Morelle, who headed Hollande's PR operations, kept 30 pairs of hand-made shoes at the Elysée presidential palace and had them professionally polished every two months. It noted that his taste for the best things in life led to him regularly raiding the palace's celebrated wine cellar for coveted bottles to accompany routine working lunches.

Le Canard Enchaîné reports that an enraged Hollande showed Morelle the door after reading the article. According to the satirical paper, Morelle didn’t take his dismissal well, calling the president a bastard and accusing him of throwing him to the dogs.

For Le Point this was just the right treatment shameless spendthrifts like Morelle deserve. The paper says there was no way Hollande and his Prime Minister Manuel Valls could have backed him at a time of austerity, when they are demanding more sacrifices from the French people.

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Morelle’s abusive use of state property has inspired Marianne’s cover story about France’s new aristocrats. The left-wing magazine warning that the lords of modern times are breaking away from the rest of society, grabbing the best salaries, sharing special privileges and living greedy lives.

Marianne publishes the findings of a study showing that between 1980 and 2007 the average French salary grew by just 0.82 per cent per year, while the wages of top corporate chiefs rose 340 percent during the same period.

L’Express launches an appeal for a new ethical pact that can bring honesty and probity to French public life. It calls for the construction of a museum where gifts received from foreign leaders and evidence of scandals under successive governments should be on display. According to the paper, that will enable citizens to come see relics such as the diamonds Emperor Bokassa of what is now the Central African Republic offered to then-president Giscard d’Estaing in the 1970s, a model of the oil sniffer plane scam in which Elf Aquitaine lost 109 million euros, as well as Aquilino Morelle’s shoes.

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L’Express also reviews a new book about Hollande and his wives titled L’Homme qui voulait vivre sa vie by French journalist Elise Karlin. The author tells how François Hollande’s private life disrupts and tarnishes his presidency, at times putting it in danger. Elise Karlin claims that Hollande’s philosophy is that his love affairs are part of his private life. For the author, conservatives are pointing to this mindset as proof that Hollande reportedly lies at all times, in the morning, the afternoon and the evening.

Le Figaro Magazine is quite irritated by the reelection of Algerian President Abdellaziz Bouteflika for a fourth five-year term. It describes the 77-year-old as the only candidate in the world who has campaigned for his country’s highest office and won without being able to talk or walk. It points to the paradox that France is able to find hard words for Vladmir Putin and Bashar al-Assad while ignoring the scandal which has just taken place in

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Algeria.

For its part Le Point explores what lies ahead for Algeria, a country where 70 per cent of the population lives on less than 250 euros per month despite its huge oil and gas reserves. Algeria produces 400 billion cubic meters of gas and 12 billion barrels of oil per year.

Le Point highlights the work of Nabni ( Builders), a civil society movement founded by some “brilliant” 40-year-olds after the foiled Algerian spring in April 2011. Nabni aims at finding scientific solutions to the everyday problems of Algerians. According to Le Point, the thinktank’s 2020 project has won the accolade of compatriots nation-wide including influential voices within the ailing military establishment, which is struggling to keep Bouteflika in power.

Le Figaro Magazine makes a spirited attempt to read Vladmir Putin’s mind, as he goes terrifying the West while the Ukrainian crisis worsens. According to the journal, thanks to popularity ratings likely to make several Western leaders jealous, Putin believes his childhood dream of becoming a Soviet James Bond is being fulfilled. For Le Figaro the Russian leader has become a narcissist living in the shadow of Peter the Great.

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