Before the first round of primaries of the center-right party “the Republicans” sociological studies promised the victory 71-year-old Alain Juppe, former Prime Minister and current mayor of Bordeaux. However, the best result showed the 62-year-old Francois Fillon. He also served as Prime Minister from 2007 to 2012. Ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose government Fillon held the post of Prime Minister, lost to his subordinate. Sarkozy admitted defeat, supported the Fillon and announced the end of his political career.
In the primaries participated 4 million French people, they didn’t have to be in the party. Fillon was supported by 44%, Juppe — 28%, Sarkozy — 20%. Fillon and juppé came out in the second round of primaries that will be held on November 27.
VictoryFillon in the primaries came as a surprise to the French media and analysts. Explaining his success to The Financial Times, Professor Science Po Bruno Cauterets drew attention to the shortcomings of the main rivals of the Fillon — Sarkozy and Juppe. Former President, little attention was paid to the economy, and the campaign Juppe appealed to more traditional conservative voter, and to broader segments of the population, the expert believes. Fillon performed well during the three debates, he has worked out an economic program, many may like its “permanence”: it is not rushed and did not change their papers after the first predictions that were adverse to him, explains the Director of the Franco-Russian analytical center “Observo” Arnaud Dubien.
Conservative against conservative
Among the three major competitors program Fillon in the economy was radically of all, the politician compares it with the actions of the former in the 1980s, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The popularity of Fillon is the return of the traditional right, said KOTRA. Fillon supports the liberalization of the economy, but conservative in social issues. “Fillon is a classic conservative right candidate. He wants deep reforms: reducing the role of the state and reduction of the social security system,” Reuters quoted Bruno Cotterêts. In case of a victory on elections, Fillon promised to increase the working week from the current 35 hours to 39, to raise the retirement age to 65 years and to add quota on the admission of immigrants. He also intends to cut 250 thousand employees in the public sector and to reduce budget spending by €100 billion.
A politician is a practicing Catholic, father of five children, in the past opposed the legalization of gay marriage, although recently promised to keep this rule in the legislation adopted in the beginning of the term of the current President Francois Hollande.
Given that Sarkozy has supported the Fillon, the French media predict that he will win Sunday and become the main rival marine Le Pen of the National front in the elections. Elections in France is scheduled for April 23, 2017.
In the right-wing conservative “National front” Fillon is considered the most strong opponent. The head of the party marine Le Pen said that of all the candidates from the “Republicans” of his speech and style of delivery seemed to her the most interesting. The party, Le Pen said to Le Monde that the conservative views of the Fillon can take away her votes. “This is a right-wing candidate whose views are not so different from the platform of the National front on issues of identity and family”, — said the head of the ruling socialist party Jean-Christophe Cambadelis. Socialists will hold primaries early next year. Hollande is unlikely to run, experts say.
In a research note, Morgan Stanley, quoted by Reuters, said that Le Pen will criticize the winner of the primaries, “Republicans” for belonging to the traditional political elite. JP Morgan warned clients that the sudden great popularity of Fillon does a presidential election campaign less predictable.
During Prime Minister Fillon have tried to implement many of their ideas. In particular, was trying to liberalize the labor market, however, managed to spend only some measures, for example, to introduce the ability for employers and employees by mutual agreement to terminate a “permanent” contracts.
A conversation with Russia
Unlike marine Le Pen Fillon supports the preservation and updating of the European Union and for greater integration of France into the EU economy. Russia also have potential enemies similar views. Even as Prime Minister, Fillon spoke from the standpoint of the need to consider interests of Moscow. In particular, was against the membership of Georgia and Ukraine into NATO. Leaving the office, Fillon is often visited Russia: in 2013 and 2015, he informally met with President Vladimir Putin, took part in St. Petersburg international economic forum and the Valdai club.
The last time he supported in Syria. “Fortunately, President Putin did it (joined operations in Syria. —). Otherwise, we, no doubt, could face even more severe Islamic state (organization banned in Russia. — ) that would be able to capture Damascus and a large part of the territory of Syria… We must engage in dialogue with Moscow in order to develop a common strategy for the liberation of Syria”, — he said in November last year (quoted by Le Point).
Like Le Pen, he is opposed to sanctions: “it is Necessary to cancel sanctions against Russia as soon as possible. It was a mad gesture. The sanctions have not had any impact on Russia in international politics, they only complicate relations with her. At the same time, the sanctions devastated the French and European farmers” (quoted by France 5). Le Pen calls the sanctions is absurd.
“In foreign policy, he will return to France on the path of the Gaullist traditions. Fillon was the only one who during the election campaign mentioned the United States as problematic for France external factor and thus spoke a true strategic partnership with Russia”, — said Dubien. The Fillon has developed personal relations with Vladimir Putin, if elected President Fillon of France before the bilateral relations of France and Russia displayed the most daring prospects, says Dubien.