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What the papers said 28 May 2018

rfi English, May 28

Political chaos looms in Italy after President Mattarella rejects the nomination of Eurosceptic Paolo Savona as finance minister by the populist alliance; low turnout for protests on French streets, and the Irish abortion laws are all in the papers.

The deep political crisis which has broken out in Italy dominates the front pages, after the collapse of a bid by populist parties to take power nearly three months after inconclusive general election which took place in March.

Le Parisien reports that Italian President Sergio Mattarella vetoed the nomination of fierce Eurosceptic Paolo Savona as economy minister, enraging the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and far-right League and prompting their prime minister-elect Guiseppe Conté to step aside.

According to Le Figaro it was clear that Italy was facing a political crisis of unprecedented gravity when President Mattarella, refused to bow to the "diktats" from the two parties considered contrary to the country's interests.

As the conservative publication reports, the writing was clearly on the wall when the President on Sunday summoned Carlo Cottarelli, an economist formerly with the International Monetary Fund, for talks Monday, as he placed the formation of a temporary technocrat government on the table and possible fresh elections in the autumn.

Le Figaro says that after 84 days of sustained efforts to breathe life into a political government, President Mattarella's wasn't in a mood to let the populist coalition impose choices he had rejected, especially their plan to take Italy out of the Euro which in his mind, would have catastrophic consequences on the savings of Italian households.

According to La Nouvelle République du Centre Ouest, beyond the lasting uncertainties facing Italy, a constitutional crisis is bound to complicate business within the alliance formed by the populist parties, which normally have little in common.

The low turnout at Saturday's protests against President Emmanuel Macron's reform agenda draws comments from several dailies.

Le Figaro argues that while the expectations of the anti-Macron bash organisers fell short of the millions the 60 political parties, trade unions and associations had hoped to mobilise, it was clumsy on the part of Interior Minister Gerard Collomb to ridicule the figures.

With regard to the unending conflict over the SNCF, l'Humanité claims that Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has no intentions of making any concessions, either on the terms of opening the company up for competition, on its status, or its transformation.

The newspaper, attributes the news to an adviser at the Elysée who says that President Macron is convinced he has won over the hearts of the French people.

Les Echos says it is crystal clear now that after charging forward with its reforms like a bull, the government need not waste precious time listening to the trade unions at a time public opinion clamours for sustained action and results.

For its part, La Charente Libre argues that the anti-Macron slogans and caricatures, as well as the clashes with the police and renewed forms of uncontrollable violence that marred the marches promise nothing good either for the left or for the government which needs to maintain bridges of dialogue with society.

According to Sud-Ouest it was clumsy on President Macron's part to say that "he" needed strong unions to refresh social and democratic life, when it is the whole country that needs them as bridges for social dialogue.

The newspaper says Macron would be better to stop using and abusing a majestic "I" or "me" when addressing the French people about the actions of the government. While people watch out for radical elements who infiltrate the front rows of protests, we need to guard against a big-head mentality on the side of people in power.

La Croix takes up the landslide victory of the yes vote in Ireland on Saturday which overturn a long-standing ban on abortion. More than 66 percent of voters in what has been a traditionally staunchly Catholic country backed repealing the constitutional ban on the termination of pregnancies.

According to the Catholic daily the law will not suffice to resolve everything, like in France where it argues, there continues to be more than 200,000 abortions every year. What is at stake it says is the concept of emotional and sexual lives of young people and the education that ought to come with it. That remains to be achieved, be it in France or in Ireland from La Croix’s point of view.


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