François Hollande’s role in trying to broker a peace deal between Russia and the Ukraine – accompanying the German chancellor Angela Merkel – has to some degree enhanced his otherwise falling popularity and given him some credence in political circles where he has been constantly the target of derision.
His love life, however, seems to hound him without any signs of respite.
Women have so far been the cause of his nagging fall from grace and it seems that his addiction to them has a buffoonish edge to it.
His on-and-off squeeze Julie Gayet, the actress and producer, landed him in trouble again last week after it emerged that she has used a government car for a four-hundred-mile round trip to a film set accompanied by two state employees, one of them Mr Hollande’s bodyguard, according to photographs published by Closer, the glossy magazine.
One was the agent the magazine pictured last year taking croissants to a flat opposite the Elysées, where Mr Hollande would visit Ms Gayet for trysts, wearing a moped helmet as disguise.
‘We know that the bodyguard has privileged links with the president, or at least very attached to him, so she is effectively being treated and protected like the First Lady, without having the status,’ said Laurent Pieau, the editor-in-chief of Closer.
‘Today, (Miss Gayet) has no official presence. This hypocrisy must end,’ she told BFMTV.
Sebastien Huyghe, spokesman for the Opposition Union for a Popular Movement, said: ‘If Ms Gayet is the official partner of the president, she should say so and it would be proper for the state to ensure her protection. But if that is not the case, there is no reason to use public funds to accompany, transport and protect Ms Gayet.’
Gerard Carreyrou, at Europel radio station, said Mr Hollande’s behaviour was reminiscent of that of François Mitterand, the socialist president elected in 1981, who kept his mistress and their child at the palace without the public knowing until 1994.
However, the difference in my view between Hollande and Mitterand is that the latter was a wily old fox who had the respect of the nation in general, while the former is struggling to keep his head above water with the constant threat of drowning.
I believe that Hollande’s best bet is to marshal his willy to some sort of discipline, and come out clean by admitting that his libido is perhaps more pronounced than most of his other activities – including politics. Then the French will start to love him and his popularity will soar as his menu will have politics as the hors-d’oeuvre, sex in a variety of positions as the main course, and dessert as a well-earned siesta to refuel his energies.
Who can now say that the French presidency is not every man’s dream of heaven on earth? Those cynics who believe there is a better place, let them show their hand and prove me wrong. I will then eat my words and seek refuge in a monastery.