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French press review 21 January 2017


It's hard to avoid the 45th prersident of the United States, inaugurated yesterday against a background of distrust and division. Donald Trump will be in charge for the next 1,460 days. Get used to it!

"Trump's victory galvanises American feminists." That's Le Monde's main headline, in reaction to yesterday's inauguration of the 45th US president. Two hundred thousand women are expected to take part in today's protest in Washington against the new man in the White House.

The "Women's Marc"h will be matched in 400 American cities, and in 66 other countries, with a view to reminding Donald Trump and the incoming administration that women's rights are human rights. Marches will be organised in nine French cities.

The crucial problem, says Le Monde, concerns the question of abortion, with many Trump allies on the religious right calling for an end to the legal termination of pregnancies.

But women are also affected by Trump's plans for the minimum wage and by the uncertainty about the future of health cover, it points out.

Give Trump a chance

Le Monde also notes that Trump has broken all the records for the level of unpopularity of an incoming president.

Starting his 1,461-day mandate, The Donald is the least popular American leader of the modern era.

Karl Rove says we mustn't take Trump literally and should wait and see. Rove, in case you've forgotten, was George Dubbya Bush's right-hand man, so he has a certain amount of experience in making the best of a bad lot. He now works as a political consultant for Fox News.

A president of a divided nation

Left-leaning Libération says yesterday saw the arrival of a new hand in Washington and the confirmation of the stark division of the United States between pro- and anti-Trump camps.

Not that the anti-Trumpers are a united bloc. They include Afro-American activists, feminists, scared black citizens, women, the poor, the peaceful and the powerless.

Le Figaro notes Trump's promise to put America first and his claim that power is now in the hands of the ordinary people.

With 20,000 votes in the Le Figaro poll, 56 percent of participants say they were convinced by the new president's inaugural speech.

But the conservative paper is far more interested by bad news for the French Socialists.

Le Figaro devotes its main story to the fact that Sunday's first round vote in the centre-left primary risks being a total fiasco for the current government. Instead of presenting a united front, says the right-wing paper, the various leftist factions have shown only dogged self-interest, squabbling like bald men over a comb since, whoever wins this primary, the best they can hope for is a humiliating fifth place in the real presidential race.

Strong turnout crucial in Socialist primary

Catholic La Croix notes that there will be only 7,530 polling stations open tomorrow for those who want to have a say in who gets the left-wing ticket.

That's less than the 9,200 in 2011.

What impact will that have on voter participation?

Six years ago, 2, 661,231 people cast a vote in the Socialist primary, the first ever organised by the French left. A poor turnout tomorrow would be yet another humiliation for the current administration.

French voters don't like politicians

And, guess what, the annual Confidence Report has just been published by the Centre for Political Research: the vast majority of French voters questioned say they don't like politicians.

Eighty-nine percent of voters feel that politicians couldn't care less about the concerns of ordinary people; seven out of every 10 feel those who rule us do so in an abstract fashion; almost as many think our representatives are interested only in the rich and powerful.

Forty percent of the French distrust politicians, nearly 30 percent are disgusted by them and less than one-fifth believe they make an effort to keep their promises.