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IN THE PRESS

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.

Latest update : 2011-01-12

Socialist Party agreement shocker!

FRENCH PAPERS, Wed., 12/1/2011: The French Socialist Party is notorious for its frequent schisms. All too often it cannot reach a common position on key issues or pick a common candidate for elections. For once, it seems united in how to arrange the nomination of its candidate for the 2012 Presidential election.

 

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The Socialist Party has set a date for picking its candidate for the 2012 Presidential election. Yesterday, it announced there will be “primaries” from the 9th to the 16th October with candidates announcing their interest in late June, early July. The 2007 Socialist Party presidential candidate was Ségolène Royal who has already said she will go for the party’s ticket next time out as have two others, Arnaud Montebourg and Manuel Valls. The big question is will the others wait until June to declare their interest?
 
Le Figaro thinks that the organization of “primaries” to designate a candidate could spell trouble for the party. The primaries process involves a ballot open to all left-leaning voters who pay a 1 euro subscription fee and sign a declaration saying the voter adheres to left-leaning values. Le Figaro points out one flaw in the design: what’s stopping right-wingers from trying to sabotage the ballot by posing as Socialist-sympathisers and voting for a weaker candidate?
 
Also what if there was a repeat of the allegations of fraud made by Ségolène Royal against the party leader Martine Aubry when she won the top job back in 2008?
 
Aubry said that yesterday’s meeting deciding to hold primaries in October was “quite formidable”. Le Figaro’s editorial is somewhat cynical, saying what would really be “quite formidable” would be if the Socialists concentrated on policy rather than picking their Presidential candidate. For example, maintaining or reforming the 35-hour working is an issue some prominent Socialists disagree on. Might that not be a bigger priority than focusing on 2012?
 
Libération meanwhile leads with a photo of former Socialist leader François Hollande, “the outsider” in the race for the party’s presidential ticket. Could he be a real threat to Domique Strauss-Kahn and Martine Aubry, the paper asks. The term used in France to describe party elders with presidential aspirations is “elephants”, of whom there were many in the run-up to the 2007 election. Libération’s editorial says that there are no more elephants in the party now, only tortoises and hares. Hollande could be likened to a tortoise creeping up on more obvious choices for the nomination such as current party leader Martine Aubry or head of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
 
Meanwhile, on the front page of the satirical weekly, Charlie Hebdo, there is a cartoon of François Mitterand. Its 15 years since the death of this looming figure of the Socialist Party’s recent past. His pre-eminence in the party during the 1980s contrasts greatly with the current rivalries and the lack of any one pre-eminent figure.
 
Other stories in today’s French press review:
 
Le Canard Enchainé: The front page criticises Sarkozy for remaining silent about violence in Tunisia despite the authorities’ violent repression of protests leaving at least 14 dead over the weekend. The paper is known for its cryptic headlines and today’s says “Touche pas à mon despote” or “Hands off my despot”. This is a play on another slogan “Touche pas a mon pote” – an anti-racism rally cry in the 1980s coined by French association “SOS Racisme”.
 
Catholic paper La Croix and Communist paper L’Humanité lead with the one year anniversary of the Haiti earthquake.
 
Finally, Libération carries a feature on the first day of the sales in France. After celebrating family at Christmas and one’s friends at New Years, the sales is a celebration of me, me, me, says Libération.
 
 
 

 

By James CREEDON

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