President Francois Hollande is coming under pressure in France to clarify his personal situation, after Closer magazine reported on his alleged secret affair with actress Julie Gayet.
Francois Hollande is making a key policy announcement on Tuesday amid fears it may be overshadowed by the allegations.
One French paper said the report was “catastrophic” in every way for him.
Francois Hollande said the publication was an “attack on the right to privacy”. He said he might sue, but did not deny it.
A major press conference next week was intended to be a platform for Francois Hollande to launch his economic program for the year ahead – detailing a much-anticipated new tack in efforts to spur growth and create jobs.
Key questions include whether the president is indeed in a relationship with Julie Gayet, and if so what of his recognized partner Valerie Trierweiler, who lives with him at the Elysee palace. and who is scheduled to accompany him on an official visits to the US next month.
Closer magazine’s article, which describes Francois Hollande riding across Paris on the back of a scooter to see his alleged lover, could ruin the president’s year, French papers warned on Saturday.
“Having to explain, a few minutes before sketching out his vision for France, instead, what he has in mind for his relationship [with Valerie Trierweiler] promises to be a highly interesting performance,” the Sud-Ouest newspaper wrote.
L’Alsace newspaper described the allegations as “catastrophic in every possible way for Francois Hollande”.
Meanwhile, L’Est Republicain said in an editorial that Tuesday’s announcement was “expected to mark a political resurgence by confirming the social-democratic shift” the president hinted at in a New Year address, but that “all eyes will now be on the president’s reaction”.
Francois Hollande, who took office in May 2012, has seen public support slipping recently. One poll in November gave him just 15% support, the lowest for any president in the past 50 years.