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What the papers said 1 August 2018

rfi English, Aug 1

President Macron's government survives two no confidence votes in Parliament but the Benalla scandal is definitely not over.

We are having an overdose of Benallagate as President Emmanuel Macron's centrist government survived confidence votes from both the left and right over the damaging scandal surrounding his top security aide filmed while manhandling demonstrators.

Le Parisien reports that opposition lawmakers failed to topple Prime Minister Edouard Philippe’s government over an alleged attempt by the Elysée Palace to cover up the affair, thanks to the comfortable majority President Macron's Republic on the Move party holds in the lower-house.

L'Union says it was clearly President Macron the opposition targeted in the motions, but they couldn't get him.

L'Alsace for its part holds that even if the Macron-Benalla affair isn't likely to go any further, the President's image has been dented, he remains unshaken.

The newspaper however argues that the affair is likely to cause misgivings about the young President's ability to bring badly-need fresh air to French politics.

According to La République des Pyrénées, the heated ecstasy around the Presidential body guard may finally have shielded the President and his government from a political storm they should have faced this summer for the rather weak 0,2 percent economic growth rate recorded in the quarter.

The paper claims it’s this “air pocket” which forced Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire to downgrade France's 12-month growth figure from 2 percent to 1.8 percent and to abandon a flagship cost-cutting program.

Le Figaro says President Macron whose popularity rating now stands at 40 percent, must find the inspiration to pursue his offensive on the social front despite the hard times facing his rule.

The right-wing publication says that after the labour law ordinances of last year, he needs to see through a law on future professions starting this August, so as to trigger a big bang that would boost job creation improve professional training in the changing digital economy where growing numbers of workers need protection.

Tense in Mali

Some of today's papers comment about the tense security situation in Mali after Sunday's Presidential elections in which armed groups disrupted the process in the central region of Mopti.

Incumbent President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is seeking re-election against 22 challengers. The international community hopes that the poll will strengthen a 2015 peace accord.

But as les Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace observes, nobody still believes in a bright future for the poor West African country where two-thirds of the territory is no longer under the control of the central government in Bamako.

According to the newspaper, whether power changes hands or not, security will remain the top priority at the detriment of development badly needed in the Sahel nation considered as one of the poorest on the planet.

Volunteers wanted to care for elderly and homeless in heatwave

In anticipation of the heat wave, which is sadly a major cause of death among the elderly every summer, La Croix went around to assess the work of a number of associations which have won respect for their work.

The catholic daily showers praise on the groups of citizens, going around in the streets, sometimes alone and with no resources to raise awareness about the shortage of emergency homes, the conditions of the homeless, and also in search of new volunteers to replace colleagues who have taken a few days off this summer after a gruelling year of work.

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