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An overview of the stories making the French and international newspaper headlines. From Monday to Friday live at 7.20 am and 9.20 am Paris time.

IN THE PAPERS

IN THE PAPERS

Latest update : 2010-02-03

Gaffe-prone George Frêche puts Socialists in a pickle

FRENCH PRESS REVIEW: Not-so-fresh politician, Georges Frêche has made his last gaffe as a member of the Socialist Party having said a Jewish former Prime Minister, Laurent Fabius “doesn’t look very Catholic”. Having cut their ties with the Frêche, the Socialists could now lose out in his Languedoc region in the upcoming regional elections.

Georges Frêche is going to face off with his former political party in upcoming regional elections and is likely to win, says le Figaro this morning. The Socialist Party leader Martine Aubry has picked the mayor of Montpellier to run in place of the controversial politician but his popularity in the Languedoc region means he will probably still win. The losers, then, are the Socialists themselves who currently control 20 of France’s 22 regions but stand to lose several of them in the upcoming vote.

Frêche is well-known for his politically incorrect statements. He once said that there were too many blacks on the French national team. However, the straw that broke the camel’s back was a remark he made last week concerning a former French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius. Frêche said he didn’t have “a very Catholic face”. This is an expression in French that means someone is not trustworthy or honest but Fabius is Jewish…and so the controversy snow-balled and Frêche was kicked out of the Socialist Party.

Local paper l’Alsace says that the Socialist Party is composed of “fiefs” around France where “chieftains” rules the roost. Examples include Ségolène Royal in the Poitou-Charente region and Georges Frêche in Languedoc. He was allowed to build his own “medieval fortress” over a 33-year career and only now have the Socialists re-established some control over the party in the region, the paper says.

Other stories in today’s French papers:

Libération: “Should France’s “grande école” system be done away with?”

Le Parisien: French civil servants who normally enjoy jobs for life could be fired under certain circumstances; this, after reforms are passed later this month.

Libération: Why did the impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh cut off his ear?


 

By James CREEDON

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