The Return of Sarkozy and More: This Week in the French Press

Sarkozy to make political comeback

On Sunday, September 21, Nicolas Sarkozy announced his bid to lead the opposition UMP party, launching a scathing critique of the current French president, Francois Hollande, and expressing concern at the political state of France.

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The former president explained on Sunday that he “had no choice” but to return to politics: “I’ve never seen such anger or such a lack of perspective in France. Staying on the sidelines as a spectator would be to abandon my country.”

According to a recent survey, 75% of UMP sympathizers are happy to see his return. Another survey indicates that 51% found his announcement, televised on the daily news program of France 2 (a French public national television channel), convincing (Le Figaro).

But Le Monde highlights a different issue, that of the decision of France 2 to dedicate 45 minutes to the former president’s announcement. “Has France 2 neglected its obligations of fair treatment?” reads part of the article, suggesting that certain parties, such as the UDI (The Union of Democrats and Independents), are being ostracized by an unfair allocation of air time.

ISIS responds to increased French involvement in Iraq

Last week France announced its support of Iraq as well as its involvement in the fight against ISIS, a maneuver that has certainly not been ignored by the jihadist group.

“The best thing you can do is to try to kill every infidel, be they French, American, or from one of their allied countries”, declared a spokesmen for ISIS (Le Figaro) on Monday, September 22.That same day a Frenchman, Hervé Gourdel, was captured by a group calling themselves “Soldiers of the Caliphate” that has pledged allegiance to ISIS. 

Will these recent developments affect how the French public feels toward the government’s decision to act in Iraq? Libération reported on September 21 that 53% of the population are in favor of such action. A video from Le Parisien demonstrated that the French are worried, but the decision to back Iraq has not lost support.

Climate change becomes hot topic

Climate change is the talk of town (and of the world) after New York City’s Climate March on Sunday, September 21. Protests had also been planned in more than 100 cities around the world, including Paris (Le Monde).

The fight against climate change has been tricky, due to its inextricable relationship with development and progress. Can we combat climate change in this age of development? This question is particularly pertinent to developing countries where other priorities “push them to postpone climate change politics perceived to be to painful”? (Le Monde) But there is also suggestion that tackling climate change may help address existing problems in developing countries, as natural disasters are “exacerbated by the effects of climate change that will cause more and more extreme incidents in the future” (Le Monde).

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