Hollande gets support from allies and opponents over Trierweiler’s kiss and tell
Both allies and opponents of Hollande denounce the score settling in Trierweiler's kiss and tell
Political allies and opponents lined up to denounce what some described as an outrageous and indecent attack on President Francois Hollande by his former partner.
In a show of unity that had thus far eluded the French leader during more than two years in power, there was widespread shock and anger at the deeply intimate kiss-and-tell written by Valerie Trierweiler.
Journalist Trierweiler, pushed out of the Elysee Palace after Hollande's affair with actor Julie Gayet was revealed in January, vented her scorn and fury in the 320-page memoir: Merci Pour ce Moment (Thank You for the Moment). While detailing her own misery and heartbreak she portrayed the president as cold, calculating and - perhaps most damagingly for a Socialist politician - dismissive of the country's poor, whom she claimed he disliked and branded sans dents (toothless).
Le Parisien newspaper had just one-word for the blatant score settling. "Pathetic", read its headline.
The French prime minister, Manuel Valls, said: "When you lower the public debate with outrageous attacks or mix public and private lives, you debase the debate." He called for respect for everyone and dignity.
The president of the far-right National Front, Marine Le Pen, was scathing, describing the book as a dishonour for France. "A dishonour as much for the person speaking, as the person being spoken about," Le Pen added.
Thierry Mariani, MP for French living abroad, said he found Trierweiler's behaviour indecent.
The book, given an unprecedented 200,000 print run, is expected to earn Trierweiler, 49, at least €500,000 (HK$5 million). It was written and published in the utmost secrecy and printed abroad. On Thursday, the memoir was the bestselling book on Amazon France, shooting to the online bookseller's number one spot in just one day and overtaking the hugely popular erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey British author E. L. James
If she was looking to tug at heartstrings after being unceremoniously dumped by Hollande, 60, Trierweiler received little sympathy. Commentators and critics declared the book an assault not just on the man, but also on the role and position of president, and they said that by dragging the public into the Elysee bedroom, Trierweiler had crossed a "red line".
Nadia Le Brun, who wrote a biography of Trierweiler, told French journalists: "Valerie Trierweiler was cheated on, repudiated, abandoned. Today she is acting like a female killer who has only one wish: revenge."
The book's release comes less than a fortnight before Hollande's government faces a vote of confidence in the French National Assembly. On top of private woes, the president is also struggling to appear politically credible in his so far unsuccessful effort to tackle high unemployment, public debt and stagnant economic growth.
Confidence in the Socialist leader has plunged to an all-time low of 13 per cent, according to a new poll taken before the memoir came out. Only 1 per cent said they had "total confidence" in Hollande.
Furthermore, international trade minister Thomas Thevenoud resigned on Thursday after only nine days because of "problems with a tax declaration".