France's neoliberal monarchy

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The publication of former 'First Lady' Valérie Trierweiler's book about her relationship with President François Hollande and their bitter break-up has provoked a media storm in France. Ordinarily, says Mediapart's editor François Bonnet, one would not be interested in the “bourgeois vaudeville” on show in 'Merci pour ce moment'. Except for the fact that its description of the president’s failings – his insincerity, political calculations and even lies – chime exactly with the recent statements of a string of politicians and former ministers who have worked closely with Hollande in government. In this respect, argues François Bonnet, the book provides the missing link in the story of François Hollande's “descent into hell”, leads to some important political questions and helps highlight how France has now become, in effect, a neoliberal monarchy.

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And now, with the publication of former 'First Lady' Valérie Trierweiler's book 'Merci pour ce moment' ('Thank you for this moment'), we have the secrets of the boudoir! This completes the long political sequence - one starting to look rather like a descent into hell - that began with the first meeting of government ministers after the summer break on August 20th. In this frantic period François Hollande’s presidency - the third occasion on which the Left has held power under France's Fifth Republic - has been refashioned from top to bottom. The secrets of the boudoir, the president’s loves, the intimate affairs of a couple; private life and public life are all quite openly lumped together. Nicolas Sarkozy ostentatiously took part in the public display of such private matters: it played a role in his defeat in 2012 and people's rejection of him as a person.