After President Nicolas Sarkozy’s reshuffle over the weekend, the French press is giving full coverage to France’s “Hyper Prime Minister”. That’s their new nickname for François Fillon, who has been reappointed as premier. The nickname contrasts with Nicolas Sarkozy’s, who is regularly described as the “Hyper President”. That’s the focus in today’s French press review: MONDAY, 15th NOVEMBER 2010
The right wing paper Le Figaro headlines: “A New Team for A New Phase” saying that Fillon is staying on because he is popular. He has regularly fared better in polls than his boss, President Sarkozy. The editorial argues that the President had no need to chart a new course with this reshuffle saying François Fillon remained the right person for the job. It says the country, with a debt of 1500 billion euros, needs to learn how to live within its means.
The main tabloid, France Soir, offers a rallying cry of support to the reappointed PM saying: «Be courageous », adding that the “hardest is to come”. It says while Fillon can come to the fore now, Sarkozy will be able “at last” to take a distance to prepare for his next role: “hyper-candidate for re-election”.
Another right-wing paper, the business daily La Tribune also uses the “hyper prime minister” phrase saying Fillon cannot now be removed.
The left-wing paper Libération, headlines: “Fillon sticks with Sarkozy”. It says a period has begun in which Fillon will play the role of “hyper prime minister” (that term again) as the hyper president languishes in the polls. The paper publishes a survey showing Sarkozy has just 32 per cent support. The Libé editorial says this reshuffle was supposed to be a “electro-shock” in French politics but it argues that there has been an “electricity failure” because Sarkozy has “renounced” (given up on) the option of more centrist pro-welfare policies.
The hard-left paper L’Humanité describes the reshuffle as a “mascarade” or farce, saying Sarkozy is an elected monarch who is more manipulative than ever. It says Sunday’s reshuffle was a game of musical chairs. The editorial argues that Sarkozy – after months of social unrest – has nothing more to offer.
The websites are also covering the reshuffle. Mediapart has played a role in revealing aspects of what is known as the Bettencourt scandal here in France. It headlines: “retirement at last” for Woerth, who has lost his job as Labour Minister and pushed through the recent pension overhaul in France. He’s embroiled in a complex conflict of interest scandal. The website has alleged in the past that Woerth, when he was Budget Minister and UMP Treasurer, received money from France’s richest woman, L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, illegally.
And the Le Parisien-Aujourd’hui-en-France website points out that the new cabinet has a couple: the new foreign minister Michele Alliot Marie will work alongside her partner Patrick Ollier. He has the job of handling relations with parliament. It is the first time a couple has been in the same cabinet since 1958.