French press review 11 January 2016


Libération and Le Figaro headline on two different primaries, while La Croix and L'Humanité wonder what's left of the spirit of 11 January 2015 as France commemorates the Charlie Hebdo attack.


Left-wing Libération is calling for the organisation of a primary to choose the left-wing candidate in 2017. Economist Thomas Piketty and politician Daniel Cohn-Bendit are among the 50 people who signed the appeal.

Against the "rise of the far right" and the French citizens' disbelief of politicians, the signatories want to organise a presidential primary of the left that would include the Socialists, the Greens and the Communists.

"Divided, the left could risk being erased from the first round. United, it will win its ticket for the second round," says an editorial.

There's of course one big issue with this proposal: Socialist President François Hollande. It's hard to see Hollande, who has been promoting himself as "the father of the nation" and a "war captain", willingly competing with other presidential hopefuls.

"Hollande, by making this democratic gesture   though unheard of   [...] will gain, whatever his fate his, a moral benefit from it," writes Libé.

Right-wing Le Figaro is also talking about a primary, but this one will most certainly take place later this year.

According to a new poll it looks like Alain Juppé has taken the lead over former president Nicolas Sarkozy in the Les Républicains primary. Juppé is at 38 per cent and Sarkozy at 29 per cent.

The paper's editorial notes that all of the candidates agree to the same principle now, and that's good news. "If you listen to them, everything will change in 2017: school, immigration, security, public spending ... If that's the case, great!" it writes.

Still, the primary will be open to everybody, and not just to members of Les Republicains - which means we could get unexpected results.

According to an expert interviewed by Le Figaro, up to 4 million people could vote later this year.

Communist daily L'Humanité reports on Sunday's commemoration of the Paris attacks a year ago. The daily attended the ceremony that took place at Place de La République.

Click for RFI reports of the Charlie Hebdo killings

You'll remember that the Parisian square saw millions of people protesting last year, right after the attack on the satirical paper Charlie Hebdo. But, according to L'Huma, Sunday's ceremony didn't meet the same success.

"Yesterday, the Republique statue was confiscated," it writes. "A giant screen hid it and showed the official ceremony in a zone where only a few members of the government and the families of the victims could attend."

L'Huma thinks this shows how disconnected the government is from French citizens.

"What's left of last January?" it wonders.

Catholic La Croix headlines on the same question. "What's left of the spirit of the 11th of January?" the paper asks.

Long gone are the "Je suis Charlie" and the "national unity" defended by French paper right after the attack. Quickly, it remembers, the "I am Charlie" slogan "revealed, rather than a push to stick together, the divisions of the French society".

But last November's attacks, which left 130 people dead, changed everything again, it says.

"When I saw all those dead, I understood it could be me," says Mohammed.

The word that defines 2015, according to La Croix, is fear.

And if 2016 looks bleak, there's reasons to hope, says the paper: "Thousands of young people have enrolled in the army and Muslims protected churches on Christmas night."

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning