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Drowning Hollande not afraid to get wet

THE French are well-known for turning a blind eye to the private lives of their presidents. The citizens erect a wall between the private life and public duties of officials from the president downward to the ordinary government employees in the belief private matters are best dealt with privately. Nonetheless, when they err in public life, the parliament, the press and even the voters put them under the microscope and hold them responsible for their actions. Therefore, the French people and their press do not underline the private lives of government officials because they have their own sanctity.

Many former French presidents were known for keeping mistresses. For example, the late former president Francois Mitterrand also had a mistress and she gave birth to a baby girl named Mazarine who is now almost 40 years old. The French adopt these attitudes because they are like their officials. In other words, they too lead a dual life. They have mistresses and wives. They are different from many of us in terms of this dual role because instead of admitting our follies, we blame others for them when they are discovered.

Unlike us the French believe in what Prophet Jesus (PBUH) ibn Mariam said when some scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery “He who is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone”. Nonetheless, I believe we are not different from the French. However, let us go back to France and the ‘breaking news’ there which is epitomized in the relationship of Hollande with actress Julie Gayet. This news spread like wild fire not because of the President’s relationship with a beautiful woman (which would not harm him whatsoever) but because the President already lives with a mistress who is not his wife.

The point is if he wanted to keep a new mistress he had to get rid of the first even if this relationship is ‘illicit’. When the mistress learned about Hollande’s new affair with another woman, she fainted and had to be rushed to a hospital for ‘rest and tests’. His mistress Valerie Trierweiler is known for being the current girlfriend of Francois Hollande and as such is considered a quasi First Lady of France. She has an office at the Elysee Palace.

In view of this some opposition members are questioning the legality of public money spent on her residence at the palace and money spent for her participation in some official trips and money spent on her staff funded by French taxpayers, all this although she is not the President’s wife. The important or the unimportant thing in this issue is the fact that the popularity of the president among his citizens has not changed following the disclosure of his relation with mistress No 2 because Hollande was considered the president with a low popularity among the presidents of the fifth republic. Life for President Hollande goes on who seems to say, ‘I am drowning, so why should I fear getting wet?

By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli
Former Minister of Oil

By: Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli

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