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French press review 27 June 2013
When do two left-wing heavyweights get their pictures on the front page of right-wing Le Figaro? When they're in the dock, obviously.
Yesterday, the disgraced former Budget Minister, Jérôme Cahuzac, and disgraced former International Monetary Fund chief, Dominique Stauss-Kahn, appeared befiore separate parliamentary commissions.
Cahuzac faced a National Assembly hearing that is trying to get to the bottom of how a government minister, and the budget minister at that, could get away with having a king's ransom salted away in foreign, non-taxable accounts.
The hope was that Cahuzac's evidence would help the powers that be to plug the gaps more effectively. Well, the man answered questions for two hours, without giving any significant responses. He simply refused to answer any of the serious questions, asking the hearing to understand that he faces legal procedings for the same misdeeds, and does not want to prejudice his chances in the courts.
Stauss-Kahn was over at the Senate, helping a committee there to understand international banking and the world economy. It appears they need the help. Stauss-Kahn ran through the complexities with astonishing ease, criticising the Tobin tax on financial transactions (much praised by François Hollande) as a "complete illusion".
He also had a go at Nicolas Sarkozy, saying the former president's announcement of the death of the tax haven was decidedly premature. The man was in great form, and he really knows his economics. He even corrected a grammar error perpetrated by one unfortunate senate questioner.
So, is there any danger that the man might be planning a political comeback? Le Figaro accepts that no one on the socialist benches currently has the man's intellectual capacities (to speak only of intellectual capacities) and that these days of crisis might make past anger and disappointment easier to forget.
The official line from the socialists was clearly given by the government spokeswoman, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, who said before the hearing that the man was no longer on the political horizon.
On to another matter, and an opinion poll on the front page of Le Figaro indicates that 89% of Le Figaro readers believe that Tour de France cyclists take performance enhancing drugs, against 11% who believe such cheating to be a thing of the past.
The 100th edition of the Tour de France begins on the Mediterranean island of Corsica on Saturday.