Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Hollande partner in Twitter feud

Valerie Trierweiler, see here with her partner French President Francois Hollande, has created a storm on Twitter (AP)
Valerie Trierweiler, see here with her partner French President Francois Hollande, has created a storm on Twitter (AP)

President Francois Hollande's partner has set the French political establishment aghast with a tweet seen as a dig against his ex-partner.

The tweet of support to Olivier Falorni, a politician in western France, was signed by Valerie Trierweiler and went viral on the internet and dominated news shows.

It was seen as a dig at Segolene Royal, the mother of Mr Hollande's four children. Ms Royal, also a former Socialist presidential candidate, is running against Mr Falorni in the Charente-Maritime region in Sunday's parliamentary elections final round.

The tweet starts: "Have courage, Olivier Falorni." But it is easily interpreted as a not-so-veiled dig at Ms Royal.

The Socialist Party recently banished Mr Falorni for failing to step aside in favour of Ms Royal, so he is running as a dissident candidate. After last Sunday's first-round vote, Ms Royal holds a narrow lead over Mr Falorni.

Ms Trierweiler, a journalist and avid tweeter, has made no secret of her determination to retain her independence, or of her discomfort with the image and chores of a first lady.

Her employer, Paris-Match, barred her from working as a political reporter after the May 6 election of Mr Hollande, although it has allowed her to stay on as a book reviewer.

Her first review, published last week, was of a biography of Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of ex-US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and began: "Look at that! A journalist first lady isn't a novelty."

Television news coverage was dominated by the tweet, along with speculation about why Ms Trierweiler would make such a bold foray into the political arena that risks bringing discredit to Mr Hollande - and is indirectly aimed at the woman who for decades was his companion.

"Either she is blinded by jealousy ... or it's a well-calculated political coup," to puncture Ms Royal's chances, ventured the chief political analyst for BFM TV, Olivier Mazerolle.

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