News / Europe

Ex-First Lady Accuses France's Hollande of Anti-poor Jibe

FILE - Valerie Trierweiler, former-companion of French President Francois Hollande visits a primary school in Creteil near Paris.
FILE - Valerie Trierweiler, former-companion of French President Francois Hollande visits a primary school in Creteil near Paris.
Reuters

French President Francois Hollande's image took a new knock on Thursday with publication of a tell-all book in which ex-partner Valerie Trierweiler accused the Socialist leader of dismissively describing the poor as “the toothless.”

Hollande ended his seven-year relationship with Trierweiler after his affair with an actress was revealed in January. The 49-year-old journalist vowed at the time that, breaking with a French tradition of maintaining discretion over private lives in politics, she would not keep quiet.

The book of French President former partner Valerie Trierweiler entitled "Merci pour ce moment" (Thanks you for this moment) some hours after its release in a Montpellier bookstore, Sept. 4, 2014.The book of French President former partner Valerie Trierweiler entitled "Merci pour ce moment" (Thanks you for this moment) some hours after its release in a Montpellier bookstore, Sept. 4, 2014.
x
The book of French President former partner Valerie Trierweiler entitled "Merci pour ce moment" (Thanks you for this moment) some hours after its release in a Montpellier bookstore, Sept. 4, 2014.
The book of French President former partner Valerie Trierweiler entitled "Merci pour ce moment" (Thanks you for this moment) some hours after its release in a Montpellier bookstore, Sept. 4, 2014.

The 320-page book is laced with unflattering references to Hollande as cold or callous. But the charge that he ridiculed the poor was the one that sparked most media debate given his efforts to portray himself as aware of the plight of the needy.

“He presented himself as a man who disliked the rich,” Trierweiler, a journalist with glossy magazine Paris Match, wrote of Hollande's successful 2012 election campaign.

“In reality, the president doesn't like the poor. In private, this man - the left-winger - calls them 'the toothless' and is so pleased at how funny he is.”

Hollande's Elysee Palace has refused to comment on the book. But, in an unexpected turn, it was Segolene Royal, the mother of Hollande's four children and the woman he left for Trierweiler, who sprang to his defense.

“This is the opposite of what he stands for,” Royal, herself a former presidential candidate who is now his energy minister,  told RMC radio, calling the accusation “total nonsense.”

When he won power in 2012, Hollande, 60, marketed himself as a “Mr. Normal” president whose car would stop at red traffic lights like everyone else's and said he would shun the bling-bling ostentation of conservative predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy.

While he this year took a more centrist course, he still insists that social justice is at the core of his government's policies. Yet with the economy stuck in a rut and unemployment running at around 10 percent, his popularity rating has sunk to the lowest of any post-war leader at just 16 percent.

RTL radio commentator Alba Ventura said that, true or not, Trierweiler's attacks risked being “devastating” for what left of Hollande's public credibility.

Marine Le Pen, leader of the resurgent far-right National Front, accused Hollande and his former partner of sullying the authority of the role of president in the eyes of the public.

FILE - French President Francois Hollande (L) and his former-companion Valerie Trierweiler arrive for a state dinner at the Elysee Palace in Paris.FILE - French President Francois Hollande (L) and his former-companion Valerie Trierweiler arrive for a state dinner at the Elysee Palace in Paris.
x
FILE - French President Francois Hollande (L) and his former-companion Valerie Trierweiler arrive for a state dinner at the Elysee Palace in Paris.
FILE - French President Francois Hollande (L) and his former-companion Valerie Trierweiler arrive for a state dinner at the Elysee Palace in Paris.

Trierweiler lived with Hollande at the Elysee presidential palace for a year and a half until a gossip magazine exposed his secret relationship with actress Julie Gayet, 42, in January.

In her book, titled “Thank You For This Moment”, Trierweiler speaks of Hollande's coldness and mean-spirited stabs, and also says he attempted for months after the breakup to win her back, sending as many as 29 text messages in a day.

Hollande has shunned calls from some in his own party who believe his deficit-reduction strategy is being conducted at the expense of the economy and the needy, recently reshuffling his government to oust more hardline left-wingers.

His prime minister, Manual Valls, has called a confidence vote in parliament for September 16, where the scale of dissent within the ruling party - for now confined to a minority group of hardline leftists - may become clearer.  

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid