The controversy over his son’s probable election to a top administrative job was just one of the issues touched on by Nicolas Sarkozy in an interview he gave to this morning’s Le Figaro.
“I will not raise taxes”, reads the headline in today’s Le Figaro. Nicolas Sarkozy started his interview defending his mandate. He said his Presidency should be judged on the basis of what he has achieved so far and what he aims to do before 2012. He compares his two years at the Eylsée to previous Presidents at a similar point in their terms of office. Charles de Gaulle faced the 1968 riots 2-3 years into his Presidency. As for Valérie Giscard d’Estaing, relations broke down with his Prime Minister, Jacques Chirac, two years into his term. Chirac himself saw the Socialist Party take over the Parliament in 1997 just two years after being elected President
On the probable election of his 23-year-old son, Jean Sarkozy, to head up the administration overseeing the la Défense business district, the President accused critics of targeting him, not his son. He insisted that the position was an elected one and unpaid therefore claims that it resembled nepotism were unfounded.
The President went on to defend France’s contribution to the war in Afghanistan but said that Paris would not be sending any further troops to the country.
Other stories in today’s French papers:
Le Parisien and Libération both lead with the problems faced by the ruling UMP Party. Le Parisien focuses on the unhappiness amongst right-leaning voters over the Jean Sarkozy affair. Libération leads with “mutiny” in the UMP ranks. Several leading members of the party have spoken out against the Elysée on issues ranging from the Jean Sarkozy controversy to a cut in corporate tax rates.
Le Parisien also covers allegations leveled against Italian troops in Afghanistan in yesterday’s Times of London. The paper says Italy is denying charges that its secret service paid off Afghan rebels and did not tell French troops when they took over in a region north of Kabul. The Times alleges this was the reason for the under-preparation of French soldiers during an ambush last year which killed ten men.
The sports paper l’Equipe focuses on Maradona’s woes over salacious comments he made during the week. The manager of the Argentine football team said his detractors could “go suck themselves”. He has refused to apologise for the remarks which he made after the qualification of the Argentine side for the World Cup.