François Hollande's honeymoon over – in 140 characters

First Lady's tweet at expense of President's ex is condemned


The French press declared President François Hollande's honeymoon to be officially over yesterday – shattered by a public spat between the two women in his life. There was almost universal condemnation of the First Lady, Valérie Trierweiler, for sending a tweet supporting a political rival of Ségolène Royal, the mother of Mr Hollande's four children. The Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, publicly criticised the First Lady, apparently with Mr Hollande's blessing. He said that she had to learn to be "discreet" and to "know her place".

The incident – the first big "social media" intrusion into French politics – has been dubbed "Tweetgate" by French newspapers. Delighted right-wing politicians spoke of "Dallas in the Elysée Palace".

Several ministers said, off the record, that the episode was the first serious gaffe of the Hollande presidency and a blow to his carefully cultivated image as a "Monsieur Normal". Though trivial, they said, the incident engulfed Mr Hollande in just the kind of private-public muddle that had damaged the early months of Nicolas Sarkozy's term of office.

Ms Trierweiler, 47, made no public comment. In private, she is reported to be unabashed and unable to understand (despite 20 years in journalism) why her short message filled the front pages of most French newspapers yesterday. President Hollande's unmarried partner, who works for the magazine Paris Match, sent a tweet on Tuesday supporting a renegade Socialist politician who threatens to deny Mr Hollande's former unmarried partner, Ms Royal, a seat in parliament this weekend.

"Best of luck to Olivier Falorni who has done nothing wrong and has battled selflessly for the people of La Rochelle for so many years," Ms Trierweiler tweeted.

Mr Falorni, a long-time ally of Mr Hollande, had refused to accept a decision by his party to "parachute" Ms Royal, a former presidential candidate, into the constituency.

Both he and Ms Royal ran for the seat in the first round of parliamentary elections last Sunday. Both qualified for the second round. With many centre-right voters opposed to Ms Royal, Mr Falorni could win the seat this Sunday. He has refused all demands from party headquarters that he should step down.

The First Lady is reported to have been piqued into sending the tweet by the inclusion of President Hollande's name in a list of second-round endorsements of Ms Royal. Relations between the two were known to be execrable but had seemed to improve lately.

French media said that, by sending her tweet, Ms Trierweiler had simultaneously interfered in an internal party quarrel and publicly displayed her "jealousy" of President Hollande's long-time partner.

One minister tried to laugh the incident off: "The President's partner detests his 'ex' and his 'ex' detests his present partner. What could be more normal than that?" he asked.

But other Socialists complained that the incident had thrown the President's party onto the defensive just as it seemed to be in command. "It's very upsetting," one minister said. "We knew Valerie's attitude [to Ségolène] might cause a problem for François... but we thought they had sorted it out between themselves. Now, it looks as if it's not under control at all."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'