The French have fun with politics with the Oprah-style TV show with Le Pen – POLITICIAN

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PARIS – France was the country of presidents he might be hiding illegitimate children in plain sight, politicians could pursue multiple love affairs, and no one printed what everyone knew.

But the French are starting to like reality shows with politicians, a sign that their private life has long ceased to be a no-go zone in France.

The television program “An Intimate Ambition” follows several politicians in their daily lives, with long, open-hearted interviews. In this Sunday’s episode, viewers discover gardening Marine Le Pen, far-right leader of the National Rally, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo on a bicycle, and former minister Rachida Dati wearing boxing gloves.

Le Pen also who has a roommate.

The relatively benign news raised enough speculation that a National Rally heavyweight felt they needed to clear the air and confirm they were just longtime friends. Housing is part of Le Pen’s “unconventional” lifestyle, he told a group of reporters.

“No man in this house, even my cats are female,” Le Pen jokingly tells host Karine Le Marchand on the show, according to gossipy magazine. Gala.

American producers would be struck by the show’s almost captivating amateurism, which takes its cue from Oprah Winfrey’s exciting all-round interviews. Think blurry close-ups of candles and family portraits, guests sinking into pillow-filled sofas and politicians cautiously opening up about their childhood.

But for France, this is relatively new territory.

“It is the Americanization of the private life of politicians,” says Gaspard Gantzer, former adviser to former president François Hollande – himself a victim of the newfound taste of the French media for political gossip about private life. “[Former President] Valéry Giscard d’Estaing posed with his daughter for a campaign photo. But such episodes were sporadic and rare ».

The show, hosted by journalist Karine Le Marchand, started before the 2017 presidential election and is fast becoming a right of way for French presidential candidates.

In 2016, he helped boost the presidential campaign of former Prime Minister François Fillon, who was struggling to shake off his image as a sleazy wingman of former President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Many today think that it is no longer possible for a politician to resist putting his life on display.

“You have to exist on social media, on popular TV shows, and whether you think that’s a good thing or not, that’s the way politics is going,” said a socialist heavyweight on the decision of socialist presidential candidate Anne Hidalgo. to take part in the show. “But you have to get people to talk about you as best they can.”

A risky business

But just as everyone is dubious about what “An Intimate Ambition” says about the state of politics, everyone is going to tune in.

Sunday’s episode examines the lives of five female politicians, including three candidates in next year’s presidential election. Le Marchand says he wants to focus on women as well the glass ceiling in French politics, but many viewers will watch to find out how the other half lives.

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“Show [Le Pen] like a normal human living in a normal house in the suburbs, “the National Rally official said.” Many people think he lives in a cave full of Nazis.

But as many politicians have discovered, using one’s private life as election material is risky.

“It can always backfire when you do that and it gives reporters a license to take a closer look at your private life,” Gantzer said, recalling how Fillon showed off his family and then got involved in a scandal involving jobs. fakes for his wife.

But for others, greater public scrutiny is a welcome trend.

“Beyond the electoral measures and posters, it is important to know whether the life of politicians is consistent with their policies,” says François Cornut-Gentille, Conservative MP from Les Républicains.

For Cornut-Gentille, the fall of the popular socialist Dominique Strauss-Kahn shows that greater control is not “voyeurism” but necessary to safeguard the state.

The arrest of the former head of the International Monetary Fund on sexual assault charges in New York in May 2011 ended his political career at a time when he was considered a potential presidential candidate. The charges were later dropped, but Strauss-Kahn reached a settlement with his accuser in a civil lawsuit.

“With his lifestyle, and beyond the issues of morality, he would have quickly found himself in control of foreign intelligence had he been elected,” Cornut-Gentille said.

But French politics is still full of areas where journalists hesitate about what should appear in the press.

In September, French glossy magazine Paris Match released a photo of presidential candidate Eric Zemmour in the arms of his political adviser and campaign director Sarah Knafo, not to mention their relationship. A married man, Zemmour is waging a conservative campaign for the family ahead of the April vote.

Zemmour’s supporters say his private life won’t affect his campaign, but it’s unclear whether this will be sustainable as political pressure builds.

It goes without saying that taking part in “An Intimate Ambition” would certainly be complicated.

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