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France

Spain cheers as Spanish-born Valls and Hidalgo win French posts

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-04-01

The Spanish press was triumphant over homegrown victories in French politics this week as Barcelona-born Manuel Valls became prime minister and Anne Hidalgo, born in Cadiz, took over as mayor of Paris.

Both had moved to France with their parents when they were young children, and both are naturalised French citizens.

Valls, who speaks fluent Catalan and who regularly visits the family home in Barcelona, is a Barca supporter whose uncle wrote the words for one of the city’s football team’s signature songs.

“The French prime minister is a Culé [nickname for Barca supporters],” declared sports daily "Sport y Va3.

"La Vanguardia’s" splash on Tuesday read, “Valls, the French prime minister from Barcelona, the Culé who speaks Catalan.”

‘For better and for worse’

Hidalgo, from the Andalusia region of south-west Spain, was two years old when her parents moved to Lyon in southern France.

Referred to in the Spanish press as “Ana” (she took on the French spelling of her name with naturalisation), the Gadatina (the Spanish name for someone from Cadiz) has put a smile on Spanish faces since her election victory on Sunday.

“She comes from Andalusia and she is the first female mayor of Paris,” rejoiced regional daily "Diario de Sevilla".

But while Spain may be brimming with pride, others are concerned that the advances of the far-right National Front in last month’s local elections are a dark portent.

“France has always been a political laboratory for things to come,” wrote "El Pais" columnist Cecilia Ballestoros on Monday. “For better and for worse.”

Date created : 2014-04-01

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