Analysis

  • The small, the fat and the not-so-pretty, victims of a vast and secret discrimination

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    An official French citizens’ rights watchdog has launched an investigation into allegedly discriminatory recruitment practices by fashionable US clothes retail chain Abercrombie & Fitch, which is accused of selecting only physically attractive people as sales staff for its French stores. As Michaël Hajdenberg reports, the affair highlights a problem that several studies show affects vast numbers of people on the job market, whose professional opportunities are daily compromised by a secret discrimination over their weight, size or blemishes.

  • The modest move towards independence for France's state broadcasters

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    The power of French presidents to nominate the heads of the country’s state-funded television channels and radio stations is to be removed under new legislation aimed at guaranteeing the independence of France’s publicly-owned broadcast media. But while the new law, expected to be approved by parliament and enacted before the end of the year, does away with the excesses of political interference introduced under the previous presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy, it is hardly the clean sweep that the government proclaims. Dan Israel outlines the bill’s proposals and weighs the arguments for and against.  

  • Sacked French environment minister launches outspoken attack on president and prime minister

    Hours after publicly criticising cuts to her department’s budget, environment minister Delphine Batho was sacked by the president and prime minister. On Thursday she hit back with an extraordinary attack on them for their handling of her dismissal and of their style of government.

  • Why far-right Front national were the real winners of France's latest by-election

    The right-wing UMP has won the country's most recent parliamentary by-election. But the party who have most to celebrate are the far-right Front national whose candidate came close to winning a seat that was once a socialist stronghold, picking up a massive 7,000 votes between the first and second rounds of voting. The FN's strong showing has now cast doubt over the Socialist Party's policy of supporting more moderate right-wing candidates when they are in head-to-head electoral contests with far-right politicians, forming what is known as a 'republican front'. Mathieu Magnaudeix, Marine Turchi and Stéphane Alliès report on the fallout from a high-profile campaign and on the future of such election pacts in the future.

  • Bettencourt magistrate victim of 'judge hunt' for 'daring' to put Sarkozy under investigation

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    Judge Jean-Michel Gentil has been accused of a 'major conflict of interest' and lack of impartiality after it emerged that one of the medical experts he used in the Bettencourt investigation is a friend of his. The disclosure, which has been given massive media coverage, follows the anonymous death threats and vitriolic attacks from right-wing politicians that greeted his decision to put former president Nicolas Sarkozy under formal investigation for allegedly exploiting the mental frailty of billionaire Liliane Bettencourt. But, as Mediapart's legal affairs expert Michel Deléan explains, this is simply the latest in a catalogue of attacks on judges who dare to turn the spotlight on powerful political and business interests.

  • Mercenary members cause EU to flop again in its attempts to wage war on tax evasion

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    European leaders met this week at a summit intended to decide upon aggressive policies to tackle tax evasion, but the results were far from conclusive, not least because of continuing opposition from Austria and Luxembourg on introducing a yearly automatic exchange of bank account information between member states. Mediapart’s Brussels correspondent Ludovic Lamant reports on the outcome of Wednesday’s talks, and examines whether the European Union is truly capable of acting as the umbrella organisation to halt a tax drain that is estimated to cost its members a combined 1 trillion euros per year.

  • The Hollande presidency – why it isn't working

    One year on, and the Hollande presidency is widely regarded as having almost completely failed. Right through the corridors of power the same question is being asked: why isn't it working? In a bid to find the answer, Mediapart provides a guided tour of each of the separate institutions that makes up the socialist administration which took office on 15th May 2012. Lénaïg Bredoux and Mathieu Magnaudeix report.

  • The moment of truth for France

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    France's Fifth Republic is reeling after the impact of the Cahuzac scandal. As François Hollande becomes isolated and shuts himself away inside an out-of-date presidential system that has always been fatal for the Left, the Right has been underlining its drift towards extremism, calling for a 'new 1958'. In other words, a coup d'état. Mediapart's Editor-in-Chief Edwy Plenel says it is now up to the people to produce the boldness that the country's leaders lack; to force a much-needed and democratic refounding of the Republic.

  • Hollande's 'Dijon syndrome': the telling reasons behind the French president’s style of government

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    A year ago on 6th May 2012 François Hollande won the French presidential election and took office nine days later. Having won the election partly because of his 'Mr Normal' image, the president’s method of governing the country has since attracted heavy criticism from all quarters, including from inside his own party. To mark the anniversary of Hollande's victory Stéphane Alliès analyses the powerful influences that have shaped the president’s approach to power and finds that they can be traced back to the day he was voted in as Socialist Party boss at Dijon a decade ago.

  • The grim picture of France's widening poverty gap

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    While the number of people living in poverty in France rises, and the standard of living for the vast majority of the population has either fallen or stagnated, a minority of the richest income earners have become better off, according to the latest study of ‘Household income and wealth’ published this week by the French national institute of statistics and economic studies, INSEE. Martine Orange analyses the grim figures.