Georgette Elgey during an interview with Mediapart in April 2017. © Mediapart
The French historian, writer and former journalist Georgette Elgey died in Paris this week at the age of 90. She is best known for her exhaustive, six-volume history of France’s Fourth Republic, Histoire de la IVe République, a monumental account of the system of government in France between 1946 and 1958, of which the first volume was published in 1965 and the last in 2012. In 2017, Elgey, who was close to many of those who shaped French politics over the past six decades, gave an insightful interview about her work to Mediapart, republished here.
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen casting her vote in the May 2019 European Parliament elections. © Reuters
The French far-right Rassemblement National (RN) party, the renamed Front National, held its post-summer congress this weekend in the south-east town of Fréjus, when its leader Marine Le Pen set out the party’s policies ahead of municipal elections to be held across the country in six months’ time. The RN, which won the majority of votes cast in France in European Parliament elections in May, hopes to at last solidly establish itself at a local level, amid a fragmented political landscape in the country and notably the collapse of the conservatives. In this interview with Lucie Delaporte, French political scientist Sylvain Crépon, a specialist of far-right politics, analyses the party’s new strategy for the elections.
Former France Télécom boss Didider Lombard (left) with his successor, current Orange CEO Stéphane Richard. © Charles Platiau/Reuters
The trial in Paris on charges of moral harassment of the former CEO of France Télécom and six other senior executives of the company, who are accused of causing a wave of staff suicides amid a brutal corporate restructuring plan, ended on Thursday. While the verdicts will only finally be announced in December, the prosecution has demanded that the defendants be handed maximum sentences, which include jail terms of between eight months and one year. Mediapart turned to Rachel Saada, a French lawyer specialised in labour law cases and who notably represented the families of Renault staff who took their lives in a wave of suicides at the carmaking group between 2006-2007, for her analysis of the trial, and its implications for corporate culture in France.
A scene at a homage to Jamal Khashoggi held outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, October 25th 2018. © Reuters
In a 100-page report published last week on her investigation into the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Agnès Callamard, concluded that “Mr Khashoggi has been the victim of a deliberate, premeditated execution, an extrajudicial killing for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible under international human rights law”, and recommended that Saudi Arabia’s ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, should be investigated for his responsibility in the crime. In this interview with Mediapart, she details her investigation and its findings, and and calls on states to take a "serious" stand on press freedom.
A protest in Paris against a fifth term of office for Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika. © Rachida El Azzouzi
Franco-Algerian economist El Mouhoub Mouhoud has talked to Mediapart about the economic and social origins of the current Algerian revolt. He criticises the inertia of the regime under President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, which has put off structural reform and driven the country into an economic and social dead end. Rachida El Azzouzi reports.
Nonna Mayer during a 'Mediapart Live' debate in 2017. © Mediapart
Several rallies denouncing anti-Semitism in France were held on Tuesday evening in Paris, in reaction to a recent spate of anti-Semitic acts across the country, the latest of which was the desecration overnight Monday of tombstones in a Jewish cemetery near the eastern city of Strasbourg. Meanwhile, official figures show a 74 percent year-on year rise in anti-Semitic acts recorded by police in France in 2018. Mediapart asked Nonna Mayer, a specialist in anti-Semitism and emeritus research director with France’s national scientific research centre, the CNRS, for her insight into the growth of anti-Semitic acts recorded in the country, her analysis of the different motives behind the anti-Semitism, and her views on how best to respond to the problem.
Paris-based lawyer William Bourdon. © Reuters
William Bourdon, the lawyer representing Rui Pinto, who was arrested last week in Hungary at the demand of the Portuguese authorities, has confirmed that his client is “John”, the alias given to the key source behind the Football Leaks revelations that have rocked the world of professional football. The more than 70 million Football Leaks documents were the starting point for two series of investigations published by Mediapart and its partners in the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) media consortium, and which have revealed widespread corruption and fraud in the shadows of the “beautiful game”. In this in-depth interview with the EIC, Bourdon offers further detail about Pinto’s actions, and dismisses his presentation by the Portuguese media “simply as a hacker, whereas he is a significant whistleblower”.
A photomontage sent to François Hollande: "Here lies my salary, born at the beginning of the month and already dead on the 10th." © DR
During his 2012-2017 term in office, France’s socialist president François Hollande received a total of about one million letters and emails from members of the public, several thousands of which have been studied by political sciences lecturers Michel Offerlé and Julien Fretel. In this interview, Michel Offerlé explains that while the correspondence contained a large number of individual demands for help, complaints over financial difficulties and taxes, and insults about the head of state’s disconnection with the people, they in part collectively represent the social group that has erupted into the ‘yellow vest’ protest movement over falling standards of living which is shaking the current presidency of Emmanuel Macron.
A yellow vest protest in Paris, December 15th 2018, calling for citizens initiative referendums. © Reuters
One of the key demands made by the 'yellow vest', or 'gilet jaune', protestors in France is for the holding of what are called citizens initiative referendums. How exactly should such a demand be interpreted? In an interview with Mediapart academic Julien O'Miel, a specialist in participative democracy, sees it as a desire by citizens to take control of the political agenda. Pauline Graulle reports.
Threatened but not silenced: Roberto Saviano. © C. Hélie
Italian journalist, author and essayist Roberto Saviano is best known outside of his country for his 2006 book Gomorrah, a detailed investigation exposing the activities of the Neapolitan mafia. It earned him worldwide acclaim, both for his journalism and his considerable courage, while the Camorra crime syndicate placed a price on his head. He has lived under permanent police protection ever since. But Saviano, 38, has also become a thorn in the side of Italy’s far-right interior minister (and deputy prime minister), Matteo Salvini, whose xenophobic, anti-migrant policies he regularly denounces – which alarmingly prompted Salvini to threaten to remove Saviano’s police protection. In this interview with Mediapart, Saviano details his appraisal of the Italian political scene and of Salvini, and slams European Union policies on immigration which he says has fuelled the rise to power of extremists.