French press review 16 December 2016

There are nine official runners in the race to represent the Socialist side of the house in next year's presidential steeplechase. If you're ready to believe the latest opinion poll, they're all wasting their time. US president-elect Donald Trump is surrounding himself with wealthy white males. And how much does the average French footballer earn in the country's top division?


Le Monde gives pride of place to the eight men and one woman who are official candidates for the Socialist Party-organised primary election, to be held next month with a view to choosing a challenger in the 2017 presidential battle.

The eight men are all usual suspects - they include former prime minister Manuel Valls, Socialist rebel parliamentarian Benoît Hamon, ex-minister, ex-contender, ex-businessman Arnaud Montebourg, the crime novelist and philosopher Vincent Peillon, also an ex-minister. But at least there's something fresh about Sylvia Pinel, now 39-years-old, who was still trying to pay off her student loans when she was first elected to the French National Assembly. She was housing minister in the Valls government and will campaign on the Radical Left ticket.

If a separate article in Le Monde is to be believed, all nine are wasting their time and energy.

 Fillon poll favourite against all comers

According to an opinion poll based on 18,000 interviews earlier this month, François Fillon, the man chosen last month as the champion of the mainstream right, is going to win hands down, no matter who goes in against him.

Fillon is credited with between 26 and 29 percent of voting intentions, depending on who wins the Socialist primary. The former prime minister is increasingly popular among the over-65s, farmers, independent professionals, mid-level managers and practising Catholics. He is given a lead of between two and four points over Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front, a lead which, as the opinion pollsters have been reminding us to explain their own recent failures, is no lead at all, since the margin of error in this sort of inquiry means that any difference of less than six percent between candidates is meaningless.

What this poll does establish is the growing significance on the political landscape of Emmanuel Macron, the former economy minister who is now paddling his own canoe on a centrist ticket. He would get 13 percent of votes against Valls, up to 18 percent if the Socialists choose Montebourg.

Macron is most popular among the young but seems to have plenty of support across all age and income groups.

A right-wing view of the left-wing contenders

Right-wing daily Le Figaro also looks at the nine Socialists, asking bluntly, who are these people?

Le Figaro can't claim not to recognise Valls, especially since they devote space to criticising him for rounding the edges of certain key policies when he was prime minister. The right-wing paper says Valls is now so concerned about party cohesion that he's trying to please all factions, at the clear risk of losing his own political identity and having his campaign go down the tubes.

The house that Trump built

Libération looks to Donald Trump's USA for its main story, suggesting that the merchant bankers of Goldman Sachs have been invited to the main table in the White House, despite Trump's endless criticism of the selfishness and greed of those same financiers during his election campaign.

Trump's administration will be wealthy, white and very conservative.

How much are French footballers really worth?

Sports daily L'Equipe looks at how much French footballers earn. With the top six salaries and seven in the national top 10, Paris St Germain are the undoubted champions in the wage table.

Monaco, Nice and Marseille are the other clubs squeaking into the top 10.

Thiago Silva is the number one, with 1,100,000 euros in monthly take-home pay. The average first division footballer in France earns 50,000 euros each month.

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