Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

What's Putin's Plan? Kiev Accuses Russia of Terrorism

Read more

FOCUS

Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

Read more

WEB NEWS

Chile: Online mobilization to help Valparaiso fire victims

Read more

ENCORE!

Art, sex, money, memory and manga

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Spat over Iran's UN ambassador hampers thawing relations with US

Read more

FOCUS

China trade deal: Is Taiwan's identity under threat?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Call it a caretaker government'

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles (part 2)

Read more

  • Kiev powerless as pro-Russia activists seize armoured vehicles

    Read more

  • France's new PM targets welfare in drive to cut spending

    Read more

  • Belgian head of wildlife reserve shot in eastern Congo

    Read more

  • Rescue effort under way as ferry sinks off S. Korean coast

    Read more

  • US rolls out red carpet for French critic of capitalism

    Read more

  • North Korea not amused by London hair salon's Kim Jong-un ad

    Read more

  • Brazil club Mineiro cancel Anelka signing after no-show

    Read more

  • Syria 'torture' photos silence UN Security Council members

    Read more

  • Paris laboratory loses deadly SARS virus samples

    Read more

  • More than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped in northeast Nigeria

    Read more

  • New York police disband unit targeting Muslims

    Read more

  • 'Miracle girl' healthy after seven-organ transplant in Paris

    Read more

  • Paris police memo calling for Roma eviction ‘rectified’

    Read more

  • Burgundy digs into France's bureaucratic 'mille-feuille'

    Read more

  • French court drops ‘hate speech’ case against Bob Dylan

    Read more

  • Algeria rights crackdown slammed ahead of election

    Read more

  • Iraq closes notorious Abu Ghraib jail over security fears

    Read more

  • Berlusconi sentenced to community service for tax fraud

    Read more

  • In ‘Tom at the Farm’, Xavier Dolan blends Hitchcock and homoeroticism

    Read more

  • US to mark one year since Boston Marathon bombing

    Read more

  • India's Supreme Court establishes third gender category

    Read more

France

French press pounces on Sarkozy’s patriotic campaign speech

©

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-03-06

Many French editorialists were scathing of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s opening campaign speech at a rally in Marseille, labeling it as divisive and disingenuous rather than substantive. France24.com takes a closer look.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy entered full-throttle campaign mode in the southern city of Marseille on Sunday, defending his record and slamming Socialist opponent Francois Hollande in a fiery speech with strong nationalistic undertones.

But with the unemployment rate at 10 percent and the economy barely growing, the opinion and Editorial pages of France’s newspapers Monday rounded on the unpopular head of state’s address as long on patriotism but short on policy.

‘The French and the anti-French’

Much of the regional press gave Sarkozy’s speech negative reviews. Michel Lepinay of Paris-Normandie, a northwestern daily, expressed disappointment that Sarkozy opted for divisive language rather than substantive solutions to France’s economic woes. “We were expecting a presentation of programmes to combat the crisis,” he wrote. “Instead, we got a war between the French and the anti-French, republicans and their enemies. That is certainly not what is going to help voters forge an opinion.”

Herve Cannet of the newspaper La Nouvelle Republique du Centre-ouest was similarly unimpressed. Ironically summarising what he described as the negative message of Sarkozy’s speech, Cannet wrote: “Down with my opponent, who shall remain nameless, but who is a demagogue and liar; down with the elites…; down with all those who don’t like France.”

Unsurprisingly, France’s left-wing press greeted the speech with great scepticism. Nicolas Demorand of left-wing daily Libération argued that the president was trying to “sell the idea that despite Fouquet’s [a posh Parisian restaurant Sarkozy has been known to frequent], the yacht, the tax ceiling, the billionaire friends, and the recent reduction of taxes on wealth, he is of the ‘people’”. The other aim of the speech, according to Demorand, was to “make people forget that the right, for the past 10 years, has had the power to resolve problems it’s pretending to discover two months before the election”.

'A president for celebs and jet-setters'

Communist-affiliated daily L’Humanité was in agreement. “It would be so simple for a president running for re-election…if the French had no memory,” Jean-Paul Pierot quipped. “If voters could only forget that the supposed ‘candidate of the people’ is in fact a president for celebs and jet-setters.”

The editorial in Catholic daily la Croix struck a less scathing tone but also warned against political rhetoric splitting the country into pro- and anti-French contingents. That “binary logic is risky” because “it is accompanied by the degradation of political discourse”, François Ernenwein wrote.

A more sympathetic assessment could be found in right-leaning daily Le Figaro. Paul-Henri du Limbert wrote that the president’s speech was in some way reminiscent of his centre-right t and much-admired predecessor [former president Charles de Gaulle], who was known for lyrical declarations of love for his country and a capacity for making tough decisions. “[Sarkozy] offered a vision that demands a lot of France”, Limbert noted. “France can face adversity if it can accept sacrifices.”
 

Date created : 2012-02-20

  • FRENCH ELECTIONS 2012

    Sarkozy defends record at first major campaign rally

    Read more

  • FRENCH ELECTIONS 2012

    Sarkozy opens re-election campaign headquarters

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)