Hollande’s troubles

September 05, 2014 - 1:41:32 am

Revelations in a book by his former partner are certainly going to hurt the reputation of the French president.

As leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries met in the British province of Wales to discuss Ukraine and other issues troubling the world, one leader’s mind may not have been entirely occupied with the official agenda. French President Francois Hollande has been equally battered in his political life as well as his private one. With his ex-partner Valerie Trierweiler letting it all out in her book — Thank You For This Moment — yesterday, the French public was soaking in the details of their president’s private lives. 

The Left-leaning president hardly got it right in the hot seat and saw his ratings take a beating as his unpopular policies didn’t endear him to the French. Yesterday, a poll saw Hollande’s rating plunge to 13 percent, his lowest so far. 

Trierweiler has pulled the rug under Hollande’s feet, suddenly exposing the leader of a permanent member of the UN Security Council to ridicule and unabashed criticism. 

The private lives of French leaders have been known to be stormy. Hollande’s predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy separated from his wife Cecilia Sarkozy to marry Italian singer and model Carla Bruni. Details of how Cecilia fell out with Sarkozy grabbed headlines for a long time as did his whirlwind romance with Bruni. Trierweiler’s estranged relationship with Hollande at the Elysee Palace comes out in the memoir released at a troubling time for the French Socialist leader. Recently, he dissolved his cabinet after facing criticism by ministers who rallied against austerity cuts. 

The French President’s private life was rocked a few months ago when a French magazine came out with a damaging report of his affair with actress Julie Gayet. In the book, Trierweiler says how she tried to swallow sleeping pills after learning about the news. 

Private details apart, what could be most damaging for Holland are revelations that he was condescending to the poor — exactly opposite of what he appeared in public. Trierweiler also talks about the president making fun of her family’s stature. The French public may tolerate philandering, but their leader looking down upon the poor is certainly not going to go down well with them.

However, his allies standing beside him in this moment of crisis is something of a soother for the French President. Even his former partner and the mother of his children,Segolene Royal, came out against Trierweiler’s description of Hollande in the book. One of his ministers said that Trierweiler had harmed the profession of journalism by producing a type of “precious court gossip for the supermarket.”

Even far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen condemned the book as a ‘dishonour for France’.

Even though everything in the book may not stand the test of truth, Trierweiler seems to have had her revenge on Hollande•