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France French press review Press review

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French press review 18 April 2017


A look back at Sunday's referendum on presidential power in Turkey. A look forward to next Sunday's French presidential election first round. And a grim warning.

Le Monde gives the front-page honours to the weekend referendum on constitutional change in Turkey, with the headline summary "Erdogan wins, Turkey divided."

It's a complicated situation. The centrist daily says Erdogan now presides over a country divided between the big cities and the coastal tourist regions (broadly against the reform), rural areas (broadly in favour of turning Erdogan into a one-man government) and the kurdish territory in the south east (strongly against).

So, who would you vote for?

Right-wing Le Figaro looks at another complicated situation. The conservative paper's main headline reads "With six days to go to the first round, uncertainty remains total."

Recent opinion polls suggest that all four front-runners in the French presidential battle have an equal chance of surviving into the second round.

As that struggle reaches its zenith, or plums the depths, the whole gang were out on the campaign trail over the weekend, trading dirty digs and counter attacks.

In Nice, conservative candidate François Fillon criticised the policies of Emmanuel Macron as failed socialism dressed up as new centrism.

Macron was, meanwhile, telling 20,000 supporters in Paris that he is ready to assume the leader's mantle, a clear answer to those who suggest that, at 39, he is too young to be president.

Far-right contender Marine Le Pen is sure she'll come out on top next Sunday. She's even sure she'll win outright, since she tells Le Figaro what she plans to do once she's elected president.

First and foremost, she'll call her fellow European leaders together for a meeting, to which she will not invite the various parallel European administrations . . . no commissioners, no European Central Bank . . . just a group of leaders who, according to Le Pen, are anxiously waiting for a great power like France to have the courage to tell the European Union to sod off.

Le Pen is sure that the majority of French people are fed up with the euro. Getting out of the single currency will not, she assures us, have any negative impact on our savings. In fact, our few centimes will be safer, since we will have national control over monetary matters and not be at the mercy of crises provoked by Greeks and suchlike. Going back to the franc will, says Madame Le Pen, create millions of jobs and give us back our freedom.

Le Pen goes back to her roots in the search for vital votes

Left-leaning Libération also gives top billing to Marine Le Pen, noting that the far-right leader has considerably toughened her tone on immigration recently, in an attempt to halt her slide down the opinion polls.

For the first time, projections of voting intentions suggest that Le Pen is no longer the clear favourite to finish first next Sunday. As the gaps close between the top four, there's even a possibility that she could see herself eliminated in the first round.

Last night, in a despearte search for votes, she bowed to her own extremists, telling a poorly-attended Paris meeting that France was rapidly becoming unrecognisable under the endless influx of migrants, people clutching identity cards produced on photocopiers, foreigners who think they can come to France and live as if they were at home. She even got out her burkini for a twirl, saying "they" wanted to impose the acceptance of the muslim uniform on the rest of us. And it's all the fault of those anonymous bureaucrats in Brussels who, themselves, have no real country.

The crowd was up for the occasion, says Libé.

"Revenge," "Throw the islmaists out," and "Blow them up," were some choice reactions from supporters to the party leader's talk of the dangers of islamic terrorism.

Marine Le Pen was twice interrupted by protestors from the Femen activist group . . . one young lady joined the far-right leader on stage, only to be grabbed by security. Another Femen protestor stood up in the crowd and rapidly suffered the same fate.

There were clashes outside last night's meeting as well, as anti-fascist protestors were kept at bay by the police.

Libération warns that we should get ready for more trouble, especially if Le Pen survives into the second round.