France's Hollande caught in storm over partner's tweet

French President Francois Hollande faced his first political storm Wednesday as his rightwing opponents looked to exploit an incendiary tweet by his partner just days ahead of a parliamentary election.

The tweet by unofficial first lady Valerie Trierweiler wishing luck to an election opponent of Segolene Royal -- Hollande's ex-partner and mother of their four children -- was also rounded on by the French press as an "embarrassment" that threatened to damage the Socialists' electoral chances.

"France's First Gaffe", leftwing daily Liberation wrote on its front page beside a photograph of Trierweiler, saying she had put Hollande "in a delicate position".

The rightwing Le Figaro went further, saying the Twitter comment had sown "amazement and confusion" among Hollande's Socialist Party and would have "heavy consequences".

Royal, who failed in a 2007 presidential bid, is standing against Olivier Falorni, a Socialist dissident, for a parliamentary seat in the western town of La Rochelle.

Hollande has publicly thrown his weight behind Royal, but in the tweet on Tuesday Trierweiler wished Falorni "good luck" and praised his "selfless commitment" to the people of La Rochelle.

The rivalry between the two women has long been a subject of speculation.

Trierweiler told AFP Wednesday that her Twitter account was "apparently hacked", after a second tweet suggested she had asked Le Monde newspaper not to publish pictures of her at a photo session with Hollande in the Elysee garden.

She insisted she did not post the tweet and "never asked that photos be pulled".

Her chief of staff Patrice Biancone also told AFP that her Twitter account had been "hacked" and that he would formally inform Hollande's office.

Hollande stood loyally by his former partner as she battled rightwinger Nicolas Sarkozy for the presidency in the 2007 race, but he had reportedly been in a relationship since 2005 with Trierweiler, a twice-divorced 47-year-old mother of three.

Neither Hollande nor Trierweiler were commenting on the first tweet Wednesday but Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault gave Trierweiler a slight rebuke, saying she needed to learn to be a little more discreet.

"I think she should play a discreet role, which is not easy to figure out," he said. "I understand that things are always a bit complicated at the start, but everyone needs to find their place."

Ayrault accused the right of "over-exploiting" the incident, as Hollande's opponents jumped on the tweet as an inappropriate intrusion of the president's private life on to the political scene.

The rightwing UMP party of ex-president Sarkozy, whom Hollande defeated in last month's presidential run-off election, is anxious to score points against the Socialists ahead of a second-round parliamentary vote on Sunday.

After coming out on top in last Sunday's first round, the Socialists and their allies are expected to win the majority Hollande needs to push through his leftwing programme.

"This affair makes a mockery of our country and of our head of state," Eric Ciotti of the UMP told France Inter radio. "It is a grotesque, ridiculous situation that weakens the position of the head of state."

Some Socialists sought to defuse the crisis by insisting that Trierweiler, a journalist with magazine Paris Match, made the remark in a personal capacity.

But former UMP minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet said Trierweiler's unofficial status was causing "confusion" and that her role should be clarified.

The UMP's Francois Fillon, a prime minister under Sarkozy, said Hollande should "put his house in order".

"I find this quite sad, but I don't want to comment, I refuse to do what the Socialists did with Nicolas Sarkozy, that is to mix everything together, his private life," he told France Bleu radio.

An IFOP-Fiducial poll showed Royal losing to Falorni by a vote of 42 to 58 percent, but Ayrault urged him to "take his responsibilities" and step aside.

Royal sought to play down the scandal, telling journalists: "Sometimes there can be excitement that we did not want, but it's nothing dramatic.

"That is the reality of political life. What's important is not to lose your way, to stay on a straight line... (and) maintain the dignity of the political debate."

The Socialists and other leftwing parties won about 46 percent of the vote in Sunday's first round, ahead of the UMP and its allies with 34 percent.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Philippines to fly over disputed South China Sea: Aquino
    Philippines to fly over disputed South China Sea: Aquino

    Philippine military and commercial aircraft will keep flying over disputed areas in the South China Sea despite Chinese warnings over the airspace, President Benigno Aquino said on Monday. "We will still fly the routes that we fly based on the international law from the various conventions we entered into," Aquino told reporters when asked whether the Philippines accepted China's position. The Chinese military last week ordered a US Navy P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane away from airspace …

  • ‘Kentex owners still in Phl’
    ‘Kentex owners still in Phl’

    The daughter of one of the Kentex Manufacturing Corp. owners has assured the government that the businessmen are still in the Philippines, contrary to some reports that they have fled the country. Barbara Ang, daughter of Kentex shareholder Veato Ang, said her father and his business partners have no plans of leaving the country despite the razing of the Valenzuela slipper factory, which killed 72 workers on May 13. Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian also stood by his promise to punish any local …

  • Gasoline prices up, diesel down
    Gasoline prices up, diesel down

    Oil companies announced yesterday a price hike of 50 centavos per liter for gasoline and a rollback of 50 centavos per liter for diesel effective at 6 a.m. today. Independent oil firms were among the first to announce the price adjustment. In an advisory, PTT Philippines, the local subsidiary of Thailand’s biggest oil firm said it cut diesel prices by 50 centavos per liter and increased gasoline prices by 50 centavos per liter. …

  • Lawmakers to review building code provisions
    Lawmakers to review building code provisions

    Lawmakers are set to review provisions of the National Building Code and Republic Act 10121, or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, to strengthen contingencies and policies to prepare the country for possible major earthquakes. The move came following proposals from Reps. Winston Castelo of Quezon City and Lito Atienza of the Buhay party-list to review the two laws and other regulations during a hearing of the House committee on Metro Manila development on the …

  • Noy: Phl may attain first world status with continued reforms
    Noy: Phl may attain first world status with continued reforms

    The Philippines’ attaining first world status may soon be imminent if significant reforms initiated by the current administration would be consistently pursued, President Aquino suggested yesterday. “Kung madidiligan ang ating mga pinunla, at makaka-graduate ang mga pinag-aaral natin upang makapasok sa maaayos na trabaho, baka po tuluyan nang nasa first world status tayo sa panahong iyon (If we water the seeds sown and those we sent to school will find better jobs, then time will come that …

  • Phl won’t recognize China air restrictions
    Phl won’t recognize China air restrictions

    The Philippines will not recognize restrictions on air and sea travel set by China in the West Philippine Sea, President Aquino said yesterday. “We will still fly the routes that we fly based on international law and the various conventions, agreements that have been entered into through various decades,” Aquino told reporters in an ambush interview after inspecting the Marikina Elementary School in preparation for the opening of classes in June. “Maybe we should not think about getting …

  • Rainy season likely in 2nd week of June
    Rainy season likely in 2nd week of June

    Filipinos may have to wait until the second or third week of June for rain, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said yesterday. Rene Paciente, chief of PAGASA’s marine meteorological services section, said they expect the rainy season to start in the second or third week of June. The criteria for declaring the onset of the rainy season include the prevalence of the southwest monsoon and the 25-millimeter rainfall recorded in at least five …

  • UN urged to probe torture cases under Noy’s term
    UN urged to probe torture cases under Noy’s term

    The United Nations has been asked to look into   110 cases of torture and numerous cases of illegal arrests during the Aquino administration. Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary-general, yesterday said the matter could be looked into when the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) visits from May 25 to June 3 to monitor the  implementation of the Optional protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OpCAT), which the Philippines ratified in 2012. “We enjoin the UN SPT to …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options