French weekly magazine review 24 April 2016

Text by: William Niba
8 min

This was the week when commentators ruled out any future role for President Francois Hollande in the 2017 elections. The harsh verdict was their first reaction to Hollande’s latest television interview widely judged as a flop by his conservative foes and left-wing adversaries. The weeklies fed off a series of catastrophic surveys forecasting Hollande's defeat in the first round of next year's crucial polls, which would be unprecedented in the 5th Republic.



“Give up, we need a new president “ screams the right-wing weekly in its cover page story which focuses on President Hollande and his conservative predecessor, Les Républicains party leader Nicolas Sarkozy.

In this week’s editorial, the publication holds that in France where everyone is a master in the art of transforming detail into lifestyle, especially in the summer, everyone is furious against President Hollande, not just for the gloomy state of the economy, but because his rivals now consider him as bait to achieve their political ambitions. These, according to the right-wing weekly include the “Up All Night" movement, the insomniacs who are trying to re-enact a kind of May '68 carnaval for individual liberties from the grounds of the giant Place de la République square in Paris. This, in what L’Express calls a country which has guaranteed almost all freedoms.


“It is Hollande’s fault”, says the left-leaning magazine in its own editorial. It blames him not just for the cries resonating across the country, and not just about the country being poorly governed, but for transforming France into a valley of tears, where  groans of suffering have become a social bond.

Le Canard Enchaîné

“Requiem for an ex-future presidential candidate” headlines the satirical weekly. It speaks about a state of deep depresion which has taken hold of the Hollande household, with Hollande himself "feeling closer to receiving his last rites than getting re-elected".

Le Point

"What is Sarkozy playing at?" wonders the right-wing weekly. It points out that the ex-president's friends have been piling pressure on him in vain to declare his candidacy. Le Point says some "Sarkozysts" now believe he has lost interest in putting his fighting spirit to test. According to Le Point, seven months from the conservatives' primaries, Sakozy has been distanced by Bordeaux Mayor Alain Juppé, whose popularity ratings haven't weakened over the past year in the build up to the 2017 presidential elections.


This week's New Observer editorial is all about Pope Francis, who, it claims, has in just three years imposed himself as Europe's most left-wing leader through his ability to translate into action his outcry against global indifference towards refugees.

The publication says that while the French traumatize themselves with President Hollande's floppy TV appearance and Finance Minister Emmanuel Macron's showmanship, Francis distinguished himself with a spectacular gesture: taking three Muslim families fleeing the conflict in Syria on board his plane to Rome as he ended a visit to Greek island of Lesbos last Saturday.

More than one million people crossed clandestinely to Europe in 2015, while an estimated 3700 died last year making the perilous crossing over the Mediterranean , according to UNHCR figures.

Le Figaro Magazine

"Taking the 12 Syrian migrants to the Vatican, was not the spiritual duty but a political gesture" argues the right-wing weekly, revealing that some Christians who had been expected to board the papal jet apparently didn't receive their visas on time. And for Le Figaro, despite his moral highground, Pope Francis "lacks the vocation to serve as a model to governments" in Western Europe where "the distinction between politics and religion has been a constant principle".

Le Figaro also points out that countries which opted for foreign policies driven by "great principles rather than vital interests" have always ended in disaster. The magazine gives the example of the human rights diplomacy led by France in Libya and Syria which led to chaos in the two countries. It also points to the "reckless suppression of borders" inside the Schengen territory, which it holds has "endangered the very existence of the European Union".

"Let's not be ashamed of our policy towards migrants", insists Le Figaro Magazine. It underlines the paradox that while Europe took in one million migrants last year, rich Muslim countries closed their doors on them. As it puts it, "Europe can't keep receiving refugees with religious and cultural backgrounds different from theirs". With the closure of the Balkans route", it warns, hundreds of thousands more migrants will try to reach Europe through Libya, as 50,000 others wait to leave Greece. According to Le Figaro Magazine, had the Pope been as generous as people claim, he should have taken to Rome not just 12 of the refugees.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning