Opinions

  • Why Nicolas Sarkozy will lose the presidential election

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    Everything is now set in place for Nicolas Sarkozy to lose the 2012 presidential elections, argues Mediapart editor François Bonnet, who says his performance on French television this week confirmed the picture presented since the president finally announced his re-election bid in early February. Just like outgoing French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing in 1981, he will fail to be re-elected, and essentially for two reasons.

  • France loses an 'A' but gains a true election debate

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    Le 9 décembre. © Elysée.fr Le 9 décembre. © Elysée.fr

    Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s announced Friday that it had downgraded France’s triple-A credit rating to AA+. Mediapart editor François Bonnet argues here that the downgrade has stripped bare President Nicolas Sarkozy’s attempts, as he prepares to announce his candidature for re-election in April, to hide the amplitude of the economic crisis and his own failures in Europe and at home.

  • The urgent message of this austerity-fuelled recession

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    Like the rest of the eurozone countries, France is entering a recession, according to the latest quarterly report released this month by the French National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE). Mediapart co-founder Laurent Mauduit argues here why the INSEE report is both an indictment of President Nicolas Sarkozy's economic policies and a warning for the Left opposition, ahead of next year's presidential elections, that austerity measures do nothing but fuel the crisis.

  • De Gaulle's vision of Europe, relayed by Fischer, lies slaughtered by sharks

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    Amid the spectre of the euro collapsing as the debt crisis deepens, the words of General Charles de Gaulle, one of the original protagonists of pan-European cooperation, have a prophetic ring. "Do we, or do we not, want the Common Market to be supplemented by a political organisation without which economic construction will ultimately decline?" he asked in 1962. Antoine Perraud argues that it is time to rediscover de Gaulle's vision of a Europe united by political action and not finance, a vision that was paradoxically later championed not by the General's so-called political heirs in France, but by German Green Joschka Fischer.

  • The spiral of speculation and austerity spinning France towards 5 million unemployed

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    France "may have entered a short, shallow recession", announced the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on Monday, the smae day when the latest official French unemployment figures were also released revealing the total number of jobless of all categories had reached 4.8 million for the first time since 1999. Mediapart co-founder Laurent Mauduit argues that this sad state of affairs is the result of economic policies that feed speculation rather than fight it, part of a vicious circle that sees the multiplication of austerity measures that are strangling the economy, worsening rather than improving public deficits, and which have already created an exceptional level of social misery.

  • The French credit rating: Moody's plays with fire and politics

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    This week international ratings agency Moody's raised the prospect of France losing its coveted triple-A credit rating and which is essential to efforts to calm the crisis in the euro zone. Martine Orange argues here that while the move by Moody's may have been predictable, the timing of the announcement has given the ratings agency a role in the forthcoming French presidential elections. Graver still, the blackmail it represents on the political debate is in danger of producing a catastrophic, irredeemable collapse of the European common currency.
  • Captain Sarkozy hits the iceberg

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    One after the other, President Nicolas Sarkozy's closest friends and aides, who for so long served as his political fireguards, have become implicated in a series of scandals and fast-developing judicial investigations. The alleged illegal political funding scam that has finally exploded with the revelations surrounding arms dealer Ziad Takieddine has already demolished the president's once solid network of protection. What has been happening this past month at the summit of French political power is historic, writes Mediapart editor François Bonnet, for never before has a French president been so exposed to being sunk by scandal and the revenge of abandoned protagonists.

  • French magazine censorship row opens up a bag of wartime horrors

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    A furious row has broken out at one of France's leading press groups, Prisma Presse, over the alleged censorship of an article detailing the unsavoury wartime collaborationist activities of several French businesses, notably Louis Vuitton, one of France's leading luxury goods firms. Representatives of Prisma's journalists, who claim the pages were censored for advertising reasons, say they will take the matter to the group's German owners, in a move that threatens to reopen yet more wounds from a clouded collaborationist past.Vincent Truffy reports.

  • Economic policy - between austerity and a Rocky Horror Show...

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    The Prime Minister François Fillon has just announced a series of new austerity measures to produce a further 12 billion euros in savings for the government in 2011 and 2012. This follows a downgrading in the forecast for economic growth for both years. The measures include a new reduction in the benefits afforded by a variety of tax breaks and a temporary 3% tax on those with massive incomes. But, argues Laurent Mauduit, the overall package is just another sign of the government's incoherent and crazy economic policy. And one which he says risks tipping France back into recession.

  • The arms dealer, the French presidency and the dirty truth

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    In July, Mediapart began the publication of a series of investigative articles about the very close and longstanding links between Franco-Lebanese arms dealer Ziad Takieddine and the inner circle of advisors and aides surrounding Nicolas Sarkozy - before and after he became French president. Takieddine is a key witness in an ongoing French judicial probe into suspected illegal party financing through commissions paid in a major French weapons sale, and Mediapart's revelations raise disturbing questions about other deals he was involved in. In a brief interview with Mediapart in July, Takieddine declared: "I'm a clean man and you're dirty. You're one of the filthy who are most productive in the muck." Here, Mediapart Editor-in-Chief Edwy Plenel sets out the key issues exposed by the investigations, and argues why an unprecedented chain of corruption is strangling France's institutions.