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France Press review

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French press review 13 February 2018

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South Africa's ruling party shows President Zuma the door but will the ageing Zulu warrior leave without a fight, while France targets Iraq reconstruction billions.


We begin with reactions to the political drama unfolding in South Africa as stalwarts of President Jacob Zuma and those backing a swift transfer of power to new party leader Cyril Ramaphosa are locked in a decisive showdown.

Le Figaro holds that after weeks of political battles and horse-trading the South African President is on the verge of finalizing the terms of his resignation.

Le Monde claims that for more than a month Cyril Ramaphosa, who Nelson Mandela always dreamt of making him his successor has been locked in a final duel to death with Jacob Zuma, with rival factions in the ruling ANC party lining up behind them.

Meanwhile, Monday's visit to Iraq by France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Monday inspires a comment from some papers watching the push for national reconciliation between the country's minority Sunni and Kurd communities ahead of "inclusive" elections, after Baghdad's proclamation of victory over the Islamic State group in December.

According to Le Figaro despite the temptation to stay away from the chaotic lands of the Orient and the tendency to feel that the wars fought there, are not their business, it is untenable for moral and humanitarian reasons for the West to be indifferent to wave of Islamist hatred sweeping through the country.

Today's l'Humanité investigates Mexico's dirty war which has led to the disappearance of thousands people, following the passing at last by parliament of a law criminalizing kidnappings.

The Communist daily says that the landmark legislation would never have seen the light of day without the unrelenting campaign waged by the families of 34,000 Mexicans classified as missing with no clues whatsoever about whether there are dead or may still be alive.

According to l'Humanité, Mexico's crime wave is driven by the trilogy of drugs, money and political power. While everyone know where it begins, countries affected by the narcotics trade will never take out the powerful cartels driving the illegal business.

That it explains, could start with France and the EU renegotiating the free trade treaty with Mexico which is up for review in 2019 which is election year in Mexico. L'Humanité says it is highly doubtful that that they have the will to change the terms of commercial exchanges with the violence-wracked Central American country.

Some of today's papers take up the war that has broken out in French rocker Johnny Hallyday’s family over his will. This after news that he left everything to his fourth wife Laeticia.

Le Parisien says actress Laura Smet laid bare the tensions inside France's first family of showbiz, revealing that she and her half-brother David -- the singer's only two biological children -- had been left with nothing. This, while Hallyday's wealth and the remaining rights to the 110 million records he sold, will go to two girls he and Laeticia adopted in Vietnam.

Le Midi libre predicts a long and bitter fight before the law courts which it says will not be the best episode of the half-a-century French romance with the rocker's hits.

According to the daily, technical questions are likely to arise about the "rewritten" will which was made in California, where Hallyday spent much of his later life, under the American state's law. As it points out, under French law, a wife does not automatically inherit all of her husband's estate, and generally must share it with his children.

For l'Alsace, even if it is indecent to expose the question of Johnny's will in the public place, it is hard to imagine that the late superstar's two siblings would be deprived of everything.

L'Est républicain says all eyes are now on the enigmatic Laeticia, venerated by millions of the rocker's fans for bringing a breath of fresh air into the life of their idol, but who may turn out to be a greedy and vicious influence in Johnny's life when the mask comes off.