• France's news in English
Hollande struggles to put out fires from new tell-all book
Photo: AFP

Hollande struggles to put out fires from new tell-all book

AFP · 14 Oct 2016, 17:19

Published: 14 Oct 2016 17:19 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
The Socialist president said he "deeply regretted" comments that upset senior lawyers and judges in a book of interviews with journalists which has wrong-footed even many of Hollande's closest aides.
Hollande described the justice system as "a cowardly institution" and accused senior judges of "keeping their heads down".
On Friday, two days after the remarks emerged, the president insisted his comments had been misinterpreted.
"I deeply regret what has been taken as an insult by judges whose courage and devotion to their difficult work I admire every day," Hollande said in a letter to the country's top judges.
The damage however had already been done. One of France's most senior legal officers, Bertrand Louvel, president of the highest appeal court, the Cour de Cassation, attacked Hollande's "degrading vision" of the justice system.
Alain Juppe, the former prime minister who is favourite to clinch the right-wing nomination for president in next year's elections, said the comments showed Hollande had "seriously failed in the duties of his office and showed once again that he is not up to the job".
Ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, who lost to Hollande in the 2012 election, tore into him in Thursday's debate of right-wing candidates, asking: "How far will Francois Hollande go in sullying the presidential office?"
Openly questioned
Hollande has recorded some of the lowest popularity ratings of a post-war president after four years in office overshadowed by stubbornly high unemployment and a series of devastating terror attacks.
Despite his unpopularity, the absence of an obvious Socialist alternative to Hollande leaves the way open for him to make a bid for a second term.
He has indicated he will make his decision on whether to stand in December.
But some Socialists admitted the revelations in the book by two Le Monde journalists, "Un president ne devrait pas dire ca..." ("A president shouldn't say that...") were a further setback for the president.
Party leader Jean-Christophe Cambadelis said he was convinced Hollande wanted to stand again but that he was "not making things easy for himself."
A junior minister openly suggested that leftist former economy minister Arnaud Montebourg, who left the government over a disagreement with Hollande, would beat him in the Socialist nominating contest in January.
Montebourg is viewed as a maverick, but higher education minister Thierry Mandon said Wednesday: "He can beat (Hollande) because with the way French political life is breaking up... anything is possible."
While Hollande's woes dominated the week, polls showed that in the right-wing contest Juppe had emerged from Thursday's debate with his lead over Sarkozy reinforced.
Juppe portrayed himself as above the fray while Sarkozy was forced into defending his 2007-2017 term as president in the debate which brought together all seven hopefuls for the right-wing nomination.
Some 35 percent told pollsters that Juppe was the most convincing in the debate, while Sarkozy scored 21 percent.
Because of the deep divisions within the left, the winner of the right wing primary on November 20 and 27 is likely to become the next president of France.
Polls currently show that the right-wing candidate would end up beating the leader of the far-right National Front (FN), Marine Le Pen, in the second round of the election in May.
Hollande 'deeply regrets' remarks on 'cowardly' judges
Story continues below…
'Path of hope'
In Thursday's debate, Juppe sought to distance himself from Sarkozy's hard-edged campaign which has seen him accused of stealing the FN's anti-immigration clothes.
"I want to lead you along a path of hope," the long-time mayor of Bordeaux said.
Challenged about the 14-month suspended term he received in 2004 over a party funding scandal, Juppe said he could not "rewrite history", adding: "It is up to the voters to decide if that disqualifies me."
A visibly irritated Sarkozy meanwhile was forced on to the defensive over the various investigations in which he has been entangled since losing his 2012 re-election bid.
"After 37 years in politics my criminal record is clean," he insisted.
By Guy Jackson
Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France poised to send bulldozers into Calais Jungle
Photo: AFP

As hundreds of migrants leave, the bulldozers are set to tear down the sprawling Calais shanty town on Tuesday.

UK to spend €40 million on securing Calais border
Photo: AFP

Britain spending big on security in Calais.

Millionaire Riviera hotel boss kidnapped in broad daylight
The city of Nice where the millionaire was bundled into a car infront of shocked onlookers. Photo: AFP

The millionaire head of a luxury hotel in the French Riviera resort of Cannes was kidnapped in front of shocked onlookers in the middle of the day on Monday.

Where exactly in France are Calais migrants being sent?
Photo: AFP

Here's where the 8,000 migrants in Calais are heading.

The annoying questions only a half French, half British person can answer
Photo: Beery/Flickr/AFP

Being half French, half British is means you get asked a lot of questions (and some of them can be a little annoying.)

Migrants bussed out of Calais Jungle to all corners of France
All photos: AFP

Hundreds of migrants are being bussed across France on Monday ahead of the demolition of the Jungle camp.

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
A Prophet. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

Looking for something to watch?

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part Two
Rust and Bone. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

The newest French films you need to see before you die (or alternatively when you get some spare time).

Election Watch
Presidential hopeful reckons a pain au chocolat is 10 cents

So France happily takes the pastry out of him.

French ministry of defence officials die in plane crash
Screengrab: eddydeg/Twitter

The French Ministry of Defence officials were killed on Monday when a light aircraft went down on the island of Malta.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available