French press review 9 December 2015

Everybody is still talking about the Front National's results in the first round of France's regional elections. Whether it's whom you should vote for or what the French think of their country, the papers can't seem to stop talking about it.


Libération's front page asks a simple question: "Can we vote for them?".

For whom?

The candidates of former president Nicolas Sarkozy's Republicans. With the far-right Front National being in a position to win three regions next Sunday, the Socialist Party has decided to withraw its slates of candidates - although the local leader in one region have refused to do so - and to call on left-wing voters to vote for the mainstream right.

If you can't bring yourself to make a decision, left-leaning Libé gives you reasons for and against voting for the right.

Voting for "would stop the Front National from gaining any power", writes Libé, but at the same time "would validate the far right's idea" that left and right are the same thing.

If you don't vote, you'll have the satisfaction to see Sarkozy lose says the newspaper but at the same time you might find some things you agree with in the Republicans' programme.

The bottom line here is: it's going to be a tough one if you're a leftwinger voting in the regions of Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur or Alsace next Sunday.

Le Figaro criticises the alliance between the Socialist Party, the Greens and the hard-left Left Front. The right-wing newspaper really doesn't appreciate seeing the three parties getting together for the second round of the elections.

The front-page editorial points out that the Greens and the Left Front have spent the last few months criticising President François Hollande and his government.

Click here to read more articles on Paris attacks

The paper seems to forget that the Republicans adopted the same strategy even earlier in the game. They formed an alliance with centre-right UDI before the first round. Still, concedes Le Figaro, the left might keep between six and nine regions next Sunday if the Front National "stays strong".

La Croix feautures a poll asking the French how they feel about France after the attacks of 13 November.

It shows that 73 per cent think that "what they share is stronger than what divides them". Only 54 per cent gave the same answer when asked the same question days before the attacks.

But at the same time 67 per cent of the people surveyed think "there's a threat on the French identity" and 87 per cent say "the government doesn't care about them".

While 54 per cent would be ready to give up their right to data privacy, 74 per cent want to get rid of the freedom of movement inside of the European Union as part of the fight against terrorism.

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Finally, there's an interesting opinion piece on Slate France. The piece is written by Amy Hong, a US citizen ofVietnamese origin. She talks about her experience in France, saying that people would not believe her when she told them she was an American.

Hong says that in France ethnic minorities have to justify the fact that they're French.

"There's an absurdity with the obsessive question asked regularly by the French, after someone of colour says he says he is French, 'Yes, but where do you come from?'," she writes.

The issue here, Hong says, is that "minorities are at the same time asked to be completely French and embrace every aspect of the republic" but at the same time "have to justify their identity because they don't look French".

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