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Press review France

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French weekly magazines review 7 October 2018

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French weekly magazines DR

President Macron loses mentor and Interior Minister Gerard Collomb over Benalla scandal. 


There are two main issues dominating the weeklies-- Gerard Collomb's resignation as Interior Minister and how his departure further weakens President Macron's government and the passing of the great Charles Aznavour.

Once upon a time lived an icon mourns l'Express in a glowing 8-page tribute to the little Armenian immigrant who in the magazine's words became the godfather of French music.

The right-wing publication holds that while Aznavour never has the physique of a freshman, his exception songs and roles in cinema raised him to the pinnacle of his art.

He was the voice of France recalls conservative le Point. He started from nothing singing about life, love and lifting hearts around the world with his soothing poetic tunes.

And left-leaning l'Obs remembers that just a few days before his passing at the age of 94, a full of life Aznavour spoke heartily about his wish to live past a hundred years.

But as le Point observes in a fine tribute, fate never gave him the extra time.

For Marianne, Aznavour was a giant of our time not just because of his longevity but because he was an incarnation of humility, admitting during the early part of his career that he didn't know how to sing and but working hard to become a giant of his time.

Aznavour's passing coincidentally, gave President Emmanuel Macron a rare moment of respite from his post summer political woes aggravated by the resignation from the government of his mentor and Interior Minister Gerard Collomb.

According to Marianne, as recently as July, ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke about Monsieur Collomb as one of the heavyweights protecting the youthful Macron, naming ex-environment Minister Nicolas Hulot who stepped down following deep disagreements with the President as the other.

The magazine says Collomb's relationship with Macron was destroyed by the slow poison of the Benalla affair which revealed in it opinion so-called attempts by the Elysée Palace to run a parallel interior office at the Presidency.

Le Canard Enchainé believes Gerard Collomb rushed to take back his16-year job as Mayor of Lyon, adding that the one thing President Emmanuel Macron had in his mind was to tell him to "get lost".

According to the satirical weekly, the political friendship died on the day Gerard Collomb publicly expressed his concerns about Macron's lack of humility and the need to avoid the isolation of the Presidency.

That was in the wake of polls showing that only 19 percent had a positive view of Macron, with 60 percent expressing a negative opinion, acording to a Kantar Sofres Onepoint poll released in mid-September.

For Marianne in less than 18 months, Macron's Presidency has become a puppet theatre starring Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, President Macron's sacked aid Alexandre Benalla, ex-Interior Minister Gerard Collomb and Emmanuel Macron himself, all allegedly exposing the Republic to ridicule.

According to the magazine, Macron's Presidency now looks like a heap of ruin which has left him facing next year's European elections with a millstone on his foot.

 

France celebrated the 60th anniversary of its constitution this week rolling off a hectic month of poetic sloganeering, exhibitions, book fairs and seminars.

L'Obs claims that the regime in which the French live today has nothing to do with the initial basic law that came into force on October 4 1958 which provided absolute powers to its architect General de Gaulle to deal with the war in Algeria, the Mai 68 revolts in France, and the cohabitations that have rocked French politics since then.

The left-leaning weekly holds that despite safeguarding the 5th Republic, the constitution's record in dealing with economic social, demographic and ecological transformations has not been flamboyant due to gridlocks in power sharing between the executive and the legislature.  

Le Point disagrees arguing that its hybrid character facilitates a synthesis between the monarchical and parliamentarian systems of government.

According to the weekly, it also embraces French national character by reconciling the passion for powerful centralized government and the aspiration for direct democracy -- not forgetting how it deploys extensive powers to provide absolute protection to the Head of State during his time in office.