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French 2012 Elections, UK Royal Wedding, Marrakesh Bombing
From speculation about the 2012 French presidential elections, French coverage of the Royal Wedding to the horrible terrorist attack in Morocco, this has been an eventful week in the news.
The media frenzy surrounding the Royal Wedding on April 29 in London was of course not limited to the UK and the US, as it was indeed an event covered around the world. The French media had special reports, live coverage and in-depth profiles. Some were done by Nouvel Observateur, Figaro, Slate and Libération.
Back in France, the political battle for the 2012 presidential election is heating up. On the left, the Parti Socialist already has a candidate in former party head (and ex-partner of Ségolène Royal), François Hollande (who gave a speech this week). It is now widely expected, more than ever, that current IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK) will declare his candidacy for the presidency by the end of May.
As Les Echos Deputy Editor in Chief Guillaume Tabard states, this could happen after the G8 which will take place May 28th in Deauville, France. In fact, DSK himself was in Paris this week and expected to meet with party head Martine Aubry, who is willing to renounce her own potential campaign if DSK became an official candidate. The potential Hollande-DSK battle within PS could split voters.
But the party divisions are not limited to the left, as the moderate center and conservative right each have multiple candidates (official and potential) such as Dominique de Villepin and Jean-Louis Borloo. But UMP Secretary General Jean-François Copé said that a primary would not be in the interest of party since Sarkozy is widely expected to be a candidate in 2012.
There was an interesting political event this week, when President Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande met for the first time in nearly three years at an industrial site in the region of Corrèze, symbolically the territory of the Chiracs, as former First Lady Bernadette Chirac is the General Counsel of Corrèze. Sarkozy visited another manufacturing zone to boost his support among workers, but there was backlash against his visit.
French Budget Minister François Baroin gave an interview to financial daily Les Echos to speak about a wide variety of issues including:
- the reform of the wealth tax ISF
- the bonus that companies with more than 50 employees must give if financial results are positive and they give dividends to shareholders. But there is no set minimum bonus amount (originally 1000€ was proposed).
Elsewhere in France, there is an ongoing search for the suspected killer Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès in the Nantes murders (suspected of killing his own children and wife). This gruesome story has alarmed the French.
Adding to the bad news was the suspected terrorist attack in the tourist center of Marrakesh, Morocco this past week, which took the lives of at least 15 (not confirmed), with a suspected six French tourists killed. Morocco is one of the top destinations for the French, and we will see how this affects the tourism industry there.
Speaking of North Africa, Tunisian migrants coming to Italy and France have sparked a controversy over Europe’s borders.
To finish, I recommend reading two fantastic articles, both focusing on French pessimism but also hope for growth and dynamism among its SMEs:
Stay tuned for more news!
News writer Michael Barrett is a communications consultant, freelance translator and English teacher. He writes a must-read blog for expats called American Expat in France.
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