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French Ecology Minister Segolene Royal has urged people to stop eating Nutella and save forests.

She said the chocolate-hazelnut spread damages the environment because it is made with palm oil.

Segolene Royal said Nutella contributed to deforestation because oil palms were replacing trees.

Nutella producer, Italian company Ferrero, said it has made commitments to source palm oil in a responsible way.Segolene Royal boycotts Nutella

French senators tried unsuccessfully to impose a 300% tax on palm oil in 2011.

They argued that the oil was dangerously fattening and that its cultivation harmed the environment.

On June 16, Segolene Royal said that Nutella should be made from “other ingredients”.

“We have to replant a lot of trees because there is massive deforestation that also leads to global warming. We should stop eating Nutella, for example, because it’s made with palm oil,” she said, during an interview with French television network Canal+.

Ferrero gets almost 80% of its palm oil from Malaysia, according to AFP news agency. The rest of its supply comes from Brazil, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

The Italian group said that it was aware of the environmental stakes involved.

In February, Ferrero announced that all of its products were produced with palm fruit oil that was 100% certified as sustainable according to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) supply chain.


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France’s former First Lady Valerie Trierweiler is set to release a tell-all book about her tumultuous relationship with President Francois Hollande, AFP reported.

Valerie Trierweiler, a 49-year-old journalist, was dumped unceremoniously by Francois Hollande in January 2014 after Closer magazine revealed his affair with actress Julie Gayet, and has since remained broadly silent about an event she once said had felt like falling “from a skyscraper”. Sh had all along been secretly writing a book about her years-long relationship with the Socialist leader, which comes out tomorrow and does not “spare” Francois Hollande, according to parliamentary channel LCP which broke the news.

“Everything I write is true,” Valerie Trierweiler writes on the cover of the book, called Thank You For This Moment and unveiled in Paris-Match, a glossy magazine for which she used to be a political reporter and still contributes to.

“At the Elysee [presidential palace], I sometimes felt as if I was on a story. And I have suffered too much from lies to tell lies myself.”

The 320-page book “is a cry of love as well as a slow descent into hell, a plunge into the intimacy of a couple. Two people and nothing more: Valerie and Francois,” Paris-Match writes.

The Elysee said it was “not aware” of the book’s publication.

“So by definition we have not read this book,” a source close to Francois Hollande told AFP.

Valerie Trierweiler is set to release a tell-all book about her tumultuous relationship with President Francois Hollande

Valerie Trierweiler is set to release a tell-all book about her tumultuous relationship with President Francois Hollande (photo Getty Images)

Valerie Trierweiler met Francois Hollande in the mid-2000s while he was in a relationship with Segolene Royal – herself a former presidential candidate – and the pair began a secret liaison.

Francois Hollande subsequently left Segolene Royal, the mother of his four children, for Valerie Trierweiler who became the de facto first lady of France after he was elected in 2012, despite the fact the pair were not married.

News of Francois Hollande’s affair with 42-year-old Julie Gayet caused shock waves in France in January, and Valerie Trierweiler was hospitalized for a week after Closer magazine published pictures of the president arriving for secret trysts with the actress at a borrowed flat.

Francois Hollande then announced their relationship was over in an 18-word statement that was devoid of regret or remorse for the woman he had described as “the love of my life” in 2010.

“Eighteen words is almost one word for each month we spent together since he was elected,” Valerie Trierweiler told Le Parisien daily in January, describing herself as “more disappointed than hurt”.

According to Paris-Match, this is the first time that a former first lady “really tells the story of nine years of a relationship eroded by jealousy and power … A story of love … and despair”. The weekly – which publishes extracts of the book in an issue that comes out on September 3 in Paris and on September 4 in the rest of France – describes Valerie Trierweiler as a “passionate lover, possessive, mad about this man whom she admires, who makes her laugh and delightfully destabilizes her”.

The book could also prove an embarrassment for President Francois Hollande, whose approval ratings are at a record low.

However, the memoir will not be the first by a former first lady.

Nicolas Sarkozy’s ex-wife Cecilia Attias, who was a key adviser in his successful 2007 campaign but divorced him soon after, also published an autobiography last year, which sold tens of thousands of copies.

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Segolene Royal, President Francois Hollande’s ex-partner and the mother of his four children, has joined France’s new government in a major reshuffle by the ruling Socialists.

Segolene Royal, 60, will serve as environment minister in the cabinet of new Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

Manuel Valls was appointed prime minister after the Socialists suffered a humiliating defeat at local elections.

The Finance Minister, Pierre Moscovici, has left the government, with his job now split between two ministers.

Michel Sapin takes charge of finance while Arnaud Montebourg will be in charge of industry and economy.

Segolene Royal is President Francois Hollande's ex-partner and the mother of his four children

Segolene Royal is President Francois Hollande’s ex-partner and the mother of his four children

Laurent Fabius and Jean-Yves Le Drian keep their positions as foreign affairs and defense ministers in the new cabinet, which replaces that led by Jean-Marc Ayrault.

President Francois Hollande, 59, is one of the most unpopular French leaders in decades, having failed to restore the economy.

It is open to question how many of the key new appointments were the choice of Manuel Valls alone. Michel Sapin is a long-time close friend of Francois Hollande.

Michel Sapin’s first task will be to persuade the EU that France is on track after the country again missed its deficit target.

While Manuel Valls is on the right of his party, the new economy minister is most definitely to the left, having previously accused the EU of damaging growth with its demands for cuts.

It is said that Francois Hollande’s most recent official partner, Valerie Trierweiler, had opposed Segolene Royal’s appointment to any position in the government.

Francosi Hollande and Valerie Trierweiler officially split up in January after it emerged he had been having an affair with actress Julie Gayet.

Le Monde ran the headline The revenge of Segolene Royal on its web edition and one French blogger wrote on Twitter: “Sego [Segolene] nominated, break with Trierweiler complete.”

The return of Segolene Royal to government follows a long period when she was out of the political spotlight.

Segolene Royal was the Socialist candidate in the 2007 presidential election, but lost to Nicolas Sarkozy.

Manuel Valls served in the previous cabinet as interior minister, where he became one of few government figures popular among the wider French public.

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France’s former first lady Valerie Trierweiler has said that hearing news of President Francois Hollande’s affair with actress Julie Gayet was like falling from a skyscraper.

Valerie Trierweiler said in an interview with Paris Match she had refused to believe reports of the affair until she saw it in gossip magazine Closer, which printed photos.

Francois Hollande said on Saturday he had “put an end” to his “shared life” with Valerie Trierweiler, his unmarried partner.

Opposition politicians have accused him of callousness and egotism.

Francois Hollande, 59, has neither confirmed nor denied the report in Closer on January 10 that he was having an affair with actress Julie Gayet, 41.

Valerie Trierweiler, 48, was admitted to hospital shortly after news of the report and had been living at a presidential retreat in Versailles since her release.

Hours after Francois Hollande announced he had left Valerie Trierweiler, her presidential Twitter account was shut down, while her page on the French presidential website was no longer active on Monday.

Speaking to Paris Match, the French magazine for which she works as a journalist, Valerie Trierweiler said: “When I found out, it was like I’d fallen from a skyscraper.”

Valerie Trierweiler has said that hearing news of Francois Hollande's affair was like falling from a skyscraper

Valerie Trierweiler has said that hearing news of Francois Hollande’s affair was like falling from a skyscraper

“Clearly I had heard the rumors but you heard [rumors] about everyone. I hear them about myself too, all of the time. I paid no attention to them.”

Valerie Trierweiler, who has been divorced twice, said she was not “undergoing a period of crisis”.

“It’s not the first break-up in my life,” she said.

“This one was violent because of the media attention.”

Telling the magazine she had no regrets, Valerie Trierweiler said she planned to take up her previous life, “enriched by a new experience”.

Valerie Trierweiler moved in with Francois Hollande after his official separation from Segolene Royal, the unmarried mother of his four children, in 2007. Valerie Trierweiler has three children of her own by her last husband.

Speaking separately to another French weekly, Le Parisien Magazine, Valerie Trierweiler said she and Francois Hollande had exchanged text messages after his announcement of their break-up because of his concern for her health.

Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, a leading figure in France’s main centre-right party the UMP, has predicted that women voters will not quickly forget the dry manner in which the president announced their separation.

“I felt like I was reading a sacking letter rather than a break-up one,” the candidate for mayor of Paris said.

Julie Gayet has been keeping a very low profile, AFP news agency notes, although friends have been quoted in the media as saying she has no intention of trying to become the next first lady.

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The Elysee Palace has contradicted media reports that President Francois Hollande would officially announce his separation from his partner, Valerie Trierweiler, on Saturday.

The president’s office said “false rumors” had been circulating in the French media.

Two weeks ago Closer magazine published photos apparently showing Francois Hollande’s affair with actress Julie Gayet.

Valerie Trierweiler spent a week in hospital after the revelations.

Francois Hollande, who has never denied having an affair with Julie Gayet, has admitted to a “difficult moment” in his relationship with Valerie Trierweiler.

On Thursday, Valerie Trierweiler sacked her lawyer for saying she was seeking to end her relationship with Francois Hollande “with the greatest possible dignity”.

The Elysee Palace has contradicted media reports that President Francois Hollande would officially announce his separation from Valerie Trierweiler

The Elysee Palace has contradicted media reports that President Francois Hollande would officially announce his separation from Valerie Trierweiler

Sources close to Francois Hollande told French media the presidency would make an official announcement on Saturday.

Valerie Trierweiler, who has continued to work as a journalist for the glossy magazine Paris-Match, is travelling to India on Sunday in support of the work of the French charity Action Against Hunger.

Since she left hospital, Valerie Trierweiler has been staying at an official residence, La Lanterne, near Versailles.

“He [Francois Hollande] has consulted her and brought her up to date, she accepts the situation as a fait accompli, but she is leaving it to him to take the initiative,” a member of Valerie Trierweiler’s entourage told the newspaper Le Parisien.

Valerie Trierweiler and Francois Hollande have never married. She announced their relationship six months after he left his previous partner, one-time French presidential candidate Segolene Royal, with whom he has four children.

For her part, Julie Gayet has announced she is suing Closer magazine, which published the original reports, for breach of privacy.

President Francois Hollande has met Pope Francis at the Vatican on his first foreign visit since reports of his alleged affair with actress Julie Gayet.

A Vatican statement said Francois Hollande and Pope Francis’ talks covered the family, bioethics and respect for religious communities.

France is planning to amend its laws on abortion and assisted suicide.

Francois Hollande’s partner, Valerie Trierweiler, spent a week in hospital amid claims he had been having an affair with Julie Gayet.

Julie Gayet has announced she is suing Closer magazine, which published the original reports, for breach of privacy.

Valerie Trierweiler, meanwhile, is travelling to India on Sunday in support of the work of the French charity Action Against Hunger.

On Thursday she sacked her lawyer for saying she was seeking to end her relationship withFrancois Hollande “with the greatest possible dignity”.

Valerie Trierweiler told the Europe 1 radio network she “felt betrayed”.

Francois Hollande has met Pope Francis at the Vatican on his first foreign visit since reports of his alleged affair with actress Julie Gayet

Francois Hollande has met Pope Francis at the Vatican on his first foreign visit since reports of his alleged affair with actress Julie Gayet

Speaking after their meeting, Francois Hollande said he had asked the Pope if the Vatican would receive a delegation from one of Syria’s main opposition groups, the National Council.

Talks aimed at ending the three-year-old Syrian conflict are under way in Switzerland.

“We need to do everything to stop the fighting and dispatch humanitarian aid,” Francois  Hollande said.

Hours before Francois Hollande arrived in Rome, a small bomb exploded outside the offices of a French foundation near the Vatican. No-one was injured, police said, but three parked cars were damaged.

In addition to his alleged affair with Julie Gayet, Francois Hollande and Valerie Trierweiler have never married – a further irritant to Catholic traditionalists.

Francois Hollande has refused to state whether Valerie Trierweiler remains his official partner and the first lady of France. The president has promised to clarify the situation before he makes a state visit to Washington next month.

He also has four children with his previous partner, Segolene Royal.

Relations between the Catholic Church and Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party have also been strained at a policy level.

The French National Assembly on Tuesday voted to strengthen the right to abortion and is considering a bill on assisted suicide.

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Closer magazine first published details of President Francois Hollande’s affair with actress Julie Gayet last Friday.

Francois Hollande’s partners:

  • 1988: Francois Hollande meets journalist Valerie Trierweiler. He was a Socialist Party MP with a steady partner, Segolene Royal
  • Family years: Valerie Trierweiler raises three children with second husband, while Francois Hollande raises four with his unmarried partner, Segolene Royal
    Francois Hollande's partners, Segolene Royal, Valerie Trierweiler and Julie Gayet

    Francois Hollande’s partners, Segolene Royal, Valerie Trierweiler and Julie Gayet

  • November 2007: Valerie Trierweiler announces she is Francois Hollande’s new partner, six months after he leaves Segolen Royal, who has just been defeated as the Socialist presidential candidate
  • Early 2012: Francois Hollande allegedly begins affair with actress Julie Gayet, who has two children from her first marriage to Santiago Amigorena
  • May 2012: Valerie Trierweiler, still officially Francois Hollande’s unmarried partner, becomes first lady of France after his victory in the presidential election
  • June 2013: Valerie Trierweiler wins damages of 10,000 euros ($13,675) from authors of The Troublemaker, a book that made allegations about her private life before Francois Hollande’s election
  • January 2014: Valerie Trierweiler is admitted to hospital after Closer publishes a report on Francois Hollande’s alleged affair with Julie Gayet, accompanied by photos.[youtube IM2ZslAue_Q 650]

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French government has blocked the appointment of actress Julie Gayet to a cultural jury.

Julie Gayet was recently linked to an affair with President Francois Hollande.

The culture ministry gave no reasons for blocking Julie Gayet from the jury, which selects scholarships for Villa Medici – the French academy in Rome.

Allegations of Julie Gayet and Francois Hollande affair surfaced in the magazine Closer last week.

Valerie Trierweiler, Francois Hollande’s official partner and France’s first lady, has been in hospital since Friday with what aides call “shock”.

At a news conference yesterday, Francois Hollande said he was experiencing a “difficult moment” in his private life.

The president refused to answer questions about the allegations, saying “private matters should be dealt with privately”.

Julie Gayet was recently linked to an affair with President Francois Hollande

Julie Gayet was recently linked to an affair with President Francois Hollande

Julie Gayet has not commented publicly on the allegations.

The satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine said Julie Gayet, 41, had been proposed to the 2014 jury last month by the director of the Academy of France in Villa Medici, Eric de Chassey.

The academy’s website announced her appointment on its website.

However, the office of Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti said on Wednesday: “Her name was put forward by Eric de Chassey… but the minister has decided not to nominate her. The order has not been signed.”

The unpaid jury’s role is to select some 15 people to take up cultural scholarships lasting 12-18 months at the Villa Medici, located in the Villa Borghese in Rome.

The academy was founded in the 17th Century and traditionally awarded scholarships to such disciplines as painting, sculpture and architecture, though in recent years it has been broadened to include literature, film, photography and other cultural areas.

Francois Hollande, who has never married, left his previous partner, fellow Socialist politician Segolene Royal, to be with Valerie Trierweiler.

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Francois Hollande’s official partner, Valerie Trierweiler, is to remain in hospital, where she has been since Closer magazine accused the French president of having an affair with actress Julie Gayet.

Valerie Trierweiler had been expected to leave hospital on Monday, but her aides said doctors had told her she needed more rest.

France’s first lady went to hospital on Friday shortly after Closer magazine alleged Francois Hollande was having an affair with film actress Julie Gayet.

Francois Hollande did not deny the report but protested at invasion of his privacy.

The president and Valerie Trierweiler have been together since 2007.

A presidential news conference scheduled for Tuesday on plans to boost the flagging economy now looks likely to be overshadowed by Francois Hollande’s private life, correspondents say.

Valerie Trierweiler went to hospital shortly after Closer magazine alleged Francois Hollande was having an affair with Julie Gayet

Valerie Trierweiler went to hospital shortly after Closer magazine alleged Francois Hollande was having an affair with Julie Gayet

Opinion polls already suggest he is one of the most unpopular French presidents ever.

Aides of Valerie Trierweiler, who is Francois Hollande’s official partner and lives at the Elysee Palace, said she went to hospital on Friday for “rest and some tests”.

On Monday, an aide told Europe 1 broadcaster: “The doctors will determine when she can be dismissed from hospital. She needs to recover from the shock she has suffered.”

Le Parisien newspaper quoted one of Valerie Trierweiler’s friends as saying she is willing to forgive Francois Hollande, but wants to know about his intentions as soon as possible.

The French media face strict privacy laws, but the tradition of secrecy over the private lives of public figures has been steadily eroded in recent years.

On Friday, Closer magazine printed a seven-page article about the alleged affair between Hollande Hollande and Julie Gayet.

The article was illustrated with photos showing a man said to be the president visiting a flat near the Elysee Palace at the same time as Julie Gayet.

Francois Hollande, who has never married, left his previous partner – fellow Socialist politician Segolene Royal – to be with Valerie Trierweiler.

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French President Francois Hollande hits out at Closer magazine’s claims that he is having an affair with 41-year-old actress Julie Gayet.

But who are the women in the president’s life?

Valerie Trierweiler

Valerie Trierweiler, 48, is Francois Hollande’s official partner.

She is a journalist who writes for Paris Match magazine and has presented discussion programs on French television.

Valerie Trierweiler moved in with Francois Hollande after his official separation from Segolene Royal in 2007, and was divorced from her own husband, with whom she has three children.

When Francois Hollande was elected president in 2012, Valerie Trierweiler moved into the Elysee palace with him and accompanies him on official trips. She incurred Francois Hollande’s wrath in June 2012 after taking to Twitter in to back an opponent of Segolene Royal in parliamentary elections.

Segolene Royal

Segolene Royal, 60, herself a prominent French politician, has four children, now adults, with Francois Hollande, 59.

Francois Hollande and Segolene Royal met at a university party and were once French politics’ power couple, both harboring ambitions to be president of France.

Although they never married, they were together for about three decades, officially splitting up shortly after the 2007 presidential election.

Segolene Royal was the Socialist candidate in that vote – the first woman in France to be nominated by a major party – but lost to Nicolas Sarkozy.

Francois Hollande has not denied a report that he is having a relationship with actress Julie Gayet

Francois Hollande has not denied a report that he is having a relationship with actress Julie Gayet

Julie Gayet

President Francois Hollande has hit out at what he describes as an invasion of privacy, but has not denied a report that he is having a relationship with actress Julie Gayet, a mother of two. Julie Gayet, 41, is fairly well known in France, if not internationally, and once appeared in one of Francois Hollande’s election campaign television adverts, describing him as “a humble man,” who “really listens”.

Rumors of Francois Hollande and Julie Gayet alleged relationship have been circulating on the internet for many months. Julie Gayet filed a complaint with prosecutors in Paris in March 2013 against various bloggers and websites that were reporting on the rumors.

She played a leading role in Quai d’Orsay, a 2013 satirical film centered on the French foreign ministry. Her filmography also includes the titles Shall We Kiss? and My Best Friend among dozens of others.

Julie Gayet is the daughter of a wealthy surgeon and married the Argentine-born film director and scriptwriter Santiago Amigorena in 2003.

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France’s President Francois Hollande is considering suing Closer magazine after it claimed he was having an affair with actress Julie Gayet.

Francois Hollande told AFP the report was an “attack on the right to privacy”.

The latest edition of the weekly tabloid Closer features seven pages of revelations and photos about Francois Hollande’s alleged affair with Julie Gayet.

Julie Gayet, 41, is an established television and cinema actress who has appeared in more than 50 films.

Rumors of their alleged relationship have been circulating on the internet for many months.

Last March, Julie Gayet filed a complaint with prosecutors in Paris against various bloggers and websites that were reporting on the rumors.

Julie Gayet’s lawyer at the time said there was no basis to the claims.

President Francois Hollande is considering suing Closer magazine after it claimed he was having an affair with actress Julie Gayet

President Francois Hollande is considering suing Closer magazine after it claimed he was having an affair with actress Julie Gayet

Francois Hollande, 59, told the AFP that he “like every other citizen has a right” to privacy.

In a statement issued personally rather than by his office, Francois Hollande said he was “looking into possible action, including legal action” against Closer magazine.

However, Francois Hollande does not deny the allegation of an affair.

Closer‘s print edition came out on Friday and shows pictures it claims support the rumors that the president routinely spends the night with Julie Gayet at a flat not far from the Elysee Palace.

The pictures show Francois Hollande and Julie Gayet arriving separately. Francois Hollande, wearing a helmet, is on a motorbike driven by a chauffeur.

The magazine claims Francois Hollande’s bodyguard arrives the following morning to deliver croissants.

Francois Hollande lives with his partner Valerie Trierweiler, a journalist for whom he left fellow Socialist politician Segolene Royal, the mother of his four children.

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France’s first lady Valerie Trierweiler has admitted she made a mistake sending tweets aimed against President Francois Hollande’s former partner.

Valerie Trierweiler caused controversy when she used Twitter to publicly back an opponent of Segolene Royal in parliamentary elections in June.

Segolene Royal, the Socialist presidential candidate in 2007, is the mother of Francois Hollande’s four children.

Valerie Trierweiler told a French newspaper she regretted the move.

“It was a mistake that I regret. I must have been clumsy because this was badly interpreted,” Valerie Trierweiler told regional newspaper Ouest-France.

“I had not yet realized that I was no longer a simple citizen. It won’t happen again.”

Government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem welcomed the remarks.

“It is entirely to her credit that Valerie Trierweiler has taken the time to express her regrets,” she said according to French news agency AFP.

During the elections, Valerie Trierweiler tweeted support for Segolene Royal’s opponent, dissident socialist politician Olivier Falorni. Her actions embarrassed Francois Hollande, who had only recently been elected president.

The president had given his public support to his former partner Segolene Royal, who subsequently lost the election to Olivier Falorni.

He recently told journalist that he and the first lady agreed on everything except her tweets.

There has long been speculation of the intense rivalry between the two women.

Segolene Royal is a former leader of the Socialist Party who ran for president in 2007 but was defeated by conservative Nicolas Sarkozy. Valerie Trierweiler is a former political journalist.

In the interview with Ouest-France, she said she planned to continue working at Paris-Match – the weekly magazine where she writes an arts column. – but would abandon plans for a more high-profile television presenting role.

“I understand that being the president’s partner and working for a television channel may be problematic or even fuel suspicion for some people,” she said.

 

Thomas Hollande, French president’s eldest son, has publicly attacked the country’s First Lady Valérie Trierweiler, accusing her of destroying the president’s election-winning “normal image”.

Thomas Hollande says he and his brothers and sisters have made it clear they no longer want to see their father’s partner, Valérie Trierweiler, after she helped destroy their mother Ségolène Royal’s political hopes with a jealous tweet.

Valérie Trierweiler, 47, used Twitter to express her support for the rival of François Hollande’s former partner Ségolène Royal days before France’s legislative elections last month.

Ségolène Royal, 58, went on to lose her parliamentary seat and saw her ambition to become the speaker of France’s Assemblée Nationale vanish with it.

In an interview with the news magazine Le Point, Thomas Hollande, 27, who was active behind the scenes in both his parents’ election campaigns, shatters any attempts by the Elysée Palace to paper over the domestic-turned-political spat.

“What I find reproachful about the tweet is that it put the private life into the public domain,” he told Le Point.

“It pained me on behalf of my father who absolutely detests anyone talking about his private life. It destroyed the normal image that he had constructed.”

Thomas Hollande, French president's eldest son, has publicly attacked the country's First Lady Valérie Trierweiler, accusing her of destroying the president's election-winning "normal image

Thomas Hollande, French president's eldest son, has publicly attacked the country's First Lady Valérie Trierweiler, accusing her of destroying the president's election-winning "normal image

During a long and bitter election campaign against Nicolas Sarkozy, 57, François Hollande, also 57, had presented himself as Monsieur Normal as a direct contrast to his predecessor’s flashy bling-bling image.

Valérie Trierweiler was portrayed as a more discreet and dignified alternative to the former first lady, supermodel-turned-singer Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, 44.

Thomas Hollande said his father was “stupefied” by the tweet, which was reportedly posted after his father and Valérie Trierweiler fell out over the president issuing an official message of support for Royal, who was standing for parliamentary in the coastal constituency of La Rochelle.

Shortly afterwards Valérie Trierweiler sent a message supporting SégolèneRoyal’s rival, Socialist party dissident Olivier Falorni, who went on to secure a convincing victory.

“I knew that she would do something one day, but not such a huge blow. It’s staggering,” said Thomas Hollande, one of the Hollande-Royal couple’s four children.

He said it was “only logical, no?” that he and his siblings no longer wished to have anything to do with Valérie Trierweiler, a journalist with Paris Match magazine, adding: “What matters is that relations with our father return to normal.”

Thomas Hollande, a lawyer, said he had a tête-à-tête dinner with his father who had asked him not to “add fuel to the fire” over the tweet, which caused a national scandal.

Le Point said the president was likely to refer to the tweet during the traditional 14 July Bastille Day speech, in which he is expected to clarify Valérie Trierwieler’s role.

The president’s son, however, had clearly ignored his father’s advice not to rake over the ashes of the row. Speaking of Valérie Trierweiler, he told Le Point the current situation was causing instability.

“Either she’s a journalist, or she has an office at the Elysée … and, above all, no more tweets,” he said.

He also said his mother had not abandoned her political ambitions, suggesting she could take up a government post.

“A minister? Why not, in a few months? In politics, one is never dead.”

Never far from Hollande’s side during the long election campaign, Valérie Trierweiler’s absence has been conspicuous since the offending tweet. On Monday François Hollande travelled to London to meet David Cameron and the Queen without his partner.

French commentators also pointed out that she had not accompanied the French leader to the G20 summit in Mexico. She is expected to be at François Hollande’s side during the official Bastille Day parade on Saturday on the Champs Elysées.

 

France is voting in a second round of parliamentary elections seen as crucial for President Francois Hollande’s reform agenda.

Socialist Francois Hollande, who was elected last month, is seeking a solid left-wing majority in the lower house.

He has promised to hire more public workers and to refocus EU fiscal efforts from austerity to “growth”.

Socialists and their left-wing allies won 46% in last Sunday’s first round, against 34% for the centre-right UMP.

Nationwide, the turnout was a modest 57%. France’s 46 million eligible voters are picking representatives for 577 seats in the National Assembly.

After the first round, 36 seats out of 577 were declared in constituencies where the winner got more than 50% of the vote. Socialists and their allies won 25 of those seats.

France is voting in a second round of parliamentary elections seen as crucial for President Francois Hollande's reform agenda

France is voting in a second round of parliamentary elections seen as crucial for President Francois Hollande's reform agenda

The French Senate is already under the control of the Socialists and their allies following elections in 2011.

The Socialist Party has concluded electoral pacts with the smaller Europe Ecology/The Greens (EELV) as well as the Radical Left party – with marginal candidates withdrawing from the second round in order not to split the left-wing vote in individual constituencies.

The vote is also seen as a key test for the anti-immigration National Front (FN), which took 13.6% in the first round.

The FN – which has no nationally elected representative – is hoping to take a number of seats, notably for its leader Marine Le Pen in the northern town of Henin Beaumont.

Another closely watched race will be in La Rochelle in the west. Official Socialist candidate Segolene Royal – who is also Francois Hollande’s former partner – is standing against a dissident left-winger, Olivier Falorni, who defied the national leadership and maintained his candidacy.

In a well-publicized twist in the past week, Francois Hollande’s current partner, Valerie Trierweiler, expressed her support for Olivier Falorni in a tweet.

On the right, the UMP of former President Nicolas Sarkozy has concluded an electoral agreement with its centrist Radical Party and New Centre allies.

The start of Francois Hollande’s term has been dominated by the eurozone crisis. In his month since taking office, he has taken part in a series of summits urging his EU partners to engage in stimulus spending and to consider eurobonds.

His government is due to present a revised budget plan to parliament next month.

 

For the first time ever in France, the incoming presidential couple, Francois Hollande and his partner Valerie Trierweiler, are not man and wife and the protocol boffins at the French foreign ministry are straining over an interesting conundrum: what to call the new First Lady?

Francois Hollande and journalist Valerie Trierweiler have been together since 2005; openly so since 2007, when Hollande’s relationship with fellow Socialist Segolene Royal was publicly ended.

Theirs is by all accounts a devoted partnership. Valerie Trierweiler was at Francois Hollande’s side throughout the campaign, with an office at his headquarter.

Valerie Trierweiler gives him regular advice, and is credited with having masterminded his “relooking” – the makeover and weight-loss programme that preceded his presidential candidacy.

Many will have a got a first look at Valerie Trierweiler during the victory celebrations at the Bastille on Sunday night: an attractive woman of 47 with thick chestnut hair, clearly delighted by her partner’s triumph.

Francois Hollande and journalist Valerie Trierweiler have been together since 2005

Francois Hollande and journalist Valerie Trierweiler have been together since 2005

After the exotic glamour of Carla Bruni – and before her the buttoned-up correctness of Bernadette Chirac – she will offer a very different version of the presidential consort.

Valerie Trierweiler’s origins are not exactly humble, but certainly rather more ordinary than the backgrounds of her predecessors. In her own words, she comes from a family of “impoverished bourgeoisie”.

Her paternal grandfather owned a bank in the western town of Angers, but by the time Valerie Massonneau was born in 1965 the affluence had long since petered out.

Her father lost his leg at the age of 12 while playing with an unexploded shell in World War II. They lived in a council house in Angers, and her mother did part-time work as a cashier at a local skating-rink.

One of six brothers and sisters, Valerie had ambition and came to Paris to study politics. She started in journalism at the now-defunct magazine Profession Politique, and in 1989 was taken on as a political reporter at Paris Match, where she has been ever since.

Funnily enough one of her early assignments was to interview the 38-year-old Segolene Royal, who in 1992 had just given birth to her fourth child with Francois Hollande.

Segolene Royal was environment minister at the time – she was the first ever French minister to give birth in office – and spoke to Valerie Trierweiler in her hospital room.

Valerie Trierweiler briefly met Francois Hollande a few years earlier, but their friendship deepened from 2000 when they met often in the corridors of the National Assembly.

“We both loved politics, and we both loved to have a laugh,” she told one interviewer.

Today Valerie Trierweiler says she has to pinch herself to believe the extraordinary change that suddenly come upon her life.

“It’s a bit like I am the subject of one of my own despatches,” she said.

“You know that film in which a person in the audience enters the screen and becomes part of the film. It’s like that.”

Pestered by questions about how she will approach her new life, Valerie Trierweiler has said she needs time to work it out.

The couple has indicated they do not intend to live in the Elysee palace, but they have been told by the presidential security people that their current residence in the 15th arrondissement of Paris is unsuitable.

As much as possible, Valerie Trierweiler wants to maintain her previous lifestyle. She has three children by her former husband Denis Trierweiler, two of whom are taking the baccalaureate in June.

She also intends to keep on with her journalism – though she has already been obliged to give up writing on politics because of her relationship with Francois Hollande.

“It is going to be very complicated,” said the journalist and writer Philippe Labro, who gave her a job as political interviewer on the TV station Direct8.

“She is someone who has always worked, who’s come from nowhere, who’s done everything for herself. I understand her point of view, but it’s going to be very hard to keep doing that and be First Lady.”

One thing she should understand well, given her background at Paris Match, are the demands of the celebrity press – though a recent contretemps with her own employer suggests there could still be tensions to come.

When the magazine published a large and favorable photo-story about her on 8 March (International Women’s Rights Day), she tweeted: “Bravo to the sexism of Paris-Match.”

As for the protocol, no-one seriously thinks the marital status of Francois Hollande and Valerie Trierweiler presents a problem.

Times have changed – and today being unmarried is as “normal” (Francois Hollande’s watchword) as being married.

There just remains the tricky question of what to call her. Conjoint? Compagne? Maybe. Or conceivably Madame Hollande?

Francois Hollande and Valerie Trierweiler have said they will not get married purely for reasons of protocol.