French press review 25 October 2016

French government resettles 1600 migrants on first day of a huge operation to shut down Calais jungle. Presidential primaries spring surprises as political heavy weights face defeat.


 We begin with reactions to the  evacuation of migrants from the Calais jungle amid reports that 1600 of the 7000 foreigners looking to reach the United Kingdom were resettled around the country on Monday.

While organizers of the operation remained upbeat about completing the operation by this weekend, L'Humanité denounces this so-called strange country where activists are facing prosecution for trying to dress up and feed helpless migrants.

The Communist paper's fury follows claims that some villagers in the Roya valley were detained by police after being denounced by their neighbours for hiding some migrants probably opposed to their removal from the border town.

According to l'Humanité, the farmers simply took the migrants to their homes to feed them and offer them some clothes as they passed by.

La Nouvelle République du Centre says the operation will be a success only if refugees are not allowed to regroup around the entrance of the channel tunnel by the people of Calais.

Le Midi Libre commends gestures of support for the migrants as they arrived by bus to be resettled in their new homes around the country. The paper argues that even if the Eldorado they sought was the UK, what France offers them is a new destiny and great opportunities to rebuild their lives.

It is a tribute to theFrench people, it says, is to have opened their arms to them as a time when politicians are whipping up anti-migrant sentiments in vote canvassing operations.

 And talking about the election primaries, Les Echos holds that campaigns ahead of the stakeholders vote are taking place in an atmosphere of distrust of the political elite.

It explains that the French are taking advantage of the consultations to express their discontent about the political choices of the governing parties and to sanction unpopular politicians.

Les Echos points to the "humiliating" elimination of Greens leader Cécile Duflot by two outsiders in the party's presidential caucus a trend still unfolding.

The right-wing publication says it also expects ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy to suffer the same fate next month at the hands of Bordeaux mayor Alain Juppé despite the royal ride he enjoyed during his election as leader of the main opposition Republican party.

Les Echos says that on the left President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls are not sure of defeating party rebel Arnaud Montebourg despite the support of the Socialist party's leadership.

Le Monde subjects National Front leader Marine Le Pen to renewed scrutiny as she speeds up a PR campaign to make the far right movement more acceptable to mainstream voters.

The publication claims that despite being tipped as an odds on favourite to qualify for round 2 of the 2017 Presidential elections, Madame Le Pen has recently been traumatized by a dramatic decline in her opinion ratings.

Le Monde blames the trend to three main handicaps: her divisive figure in the eyes of voters, her political manifesto described by the paper as unrealistic coupled, so-called dangerous ideas promoted by her party.

As French presidential candidates search for efficient remedies to the country's endemic unemployment, Le Parisien/Aujourd'hui en France wonders why none of them is trying to recycle the idea of a universal salary for all.

According to the publication, while that may be a "pie-in-the-sky" to some,it makes sense to in this nation beset by growing poverty and joblessness to try another recipe have continued to rise despite the multiplication of social welfare and employment assistance schemes.

Meanwhile as French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian prepares to host a meeting of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq to assess progress in the battle for Mosul Le Figaro says there is no doubt in its mind now that the battle will be won.

According to Le Figaro the second crucial round of the final battle will be fought in the IS stronghold of Raqqa, 400 kms to the West. At a  Paris meeting it says, defence ministers will insist on the urgency of capturing the so-called "dark capital" where all the bloody attacks on France were planned.

Le Figaro says that France's American ally is focalized on securing victory in Iraqi victory so as to include it in President Barack Obama's record. The liberation of Raqqa, it argues, would bring an end to the "geographical" Caliphate but not the "ideological" one, which is likely to last in the region for yet another while.








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