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

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid