Skip to Content

Alain Juppé, Francois Fillon

France: Fillon beats rival Juppé tapping into ‘rightwing mood’

The former French prime minister Francois Fillon won France’s center-right primary by a landslide, beating Bordeaux mayor Alain Juppé.

Published: November 28, 2016, 6:11 am

    Read more

    Just two weeks ago polls had shown Juppé, a centrist with bipartisan appeal, with a comfortable lead.

    After tapping into a “rightwing mood”, Fillon is the leading mainstream candidate to take on National Front leader Marine Le Pen in the presidential election next year.

    While campaigning, Fillon told voters: “France is more rightwing than it has ever been,” and that he was the only one able to tap into that mood and win France’s “ideological battle”.

    But in the runoff of the Républicains’ primary late Sunday, Fillon garnered 66.5 percent of votes according to counts from almost all polling stations, while Juppé trailed with 33.2 percent.

    Despite his unpopular plan to slash public sector jobs, reduce the welfare state, cut taxes for the rich and loosen business regulations, Fillon is no Margaret Thatcher.

    He does not intend to privatise state companies or curb France’s traditionally high public spending.

    Fillon served as prime minister from 2007-2012 under the unpopular president Nicolas Sarkozy. Fillon promised economic reform then, but failed to deliver.

    France’s mainstream parties have had to rethink their approach to Le Pen, an anti-immigrant euroskeptic who polls show would easily reach the second-round runoff of the presidential election in May.

    The vice president of the National Front, Florian Philippot, said on Sunday, Fillon offered the same austerity recipe that the European Commission had imposed upon Greece.

    “It is terrible for the middle class, for poor pensioners, and for the working class, and it yields no economic result,” Philippot told French state television.

    The people who voted in Sunday’s primary only represent a small part of the French electorate — around 4 million out of a population of around 66 million.

    The deeply unpopular governing French Socialist party, will choose its presidential candidate during a primary race in January.

    Francois Hollande is the least popular French president since the second world war, with his satisfaction rating in one recent poll as low as 4 percent, according to the French daily Le Monde.

    karin@praag.org

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Europe

    Kremlin: Donbass residents able to apply for Russian passports

    MoscowRussian President Vladimir Putin has just signed an order - to be viewed on the official Kremlin site - about issuing Russian passports to the almost four million residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.

    Zelensky’s day

    KievVladimir Zelensky is the new Ukrainian president. But who is the TV comedian who will run the scandal-prone country really?

    AfD is the strongest party in East Germany

    BerlinIn a survey by the polling institute Emnid on Sunday about which German party would be a favourite in a federal election, the AfD came out as the strongest party in East Germany.

    Ukraine elects its first Jewish president

    KievA real comedian, Volodymyr Zelensky, better known for playing a president in a TV show, won the final round of the presidential election on Sunday. The incumbent President Petro Poroshenko has conceded defeat.

    Act XXIII: Journalists targeted by police in Paris

    ParisJournalists covering the Yellow Vest demonstration have reported that some of their colleagues have been arrested by the police. Others have been victims of police violence.

    Notre Dame: Was it arson?

    ParisOne of three jihadists involved in a foiled plot in 2016 to launch an attack on the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris was sentenced to eight years in prison by a French court just days before before a fire destroyed the iconic spire and roof.

    In a Yellow Vest through Paris

    ParisAn exclusive FWM reportage on the Yellow Vest movement that has riled French President Emmanuel Macron for months now. Our reporter joined a group of the famous gilets jaunes.

    Notre Dame blaze destroys French national unity

    ParisWhile French and Catholics mourn the tragedy that struck the cathedral of Paris on Monday, Internet users, especially Muslims, preferred instead to celebrate the fire with insults and shameful ridicule.

    Huge loss for France as iconic 850- year old Notre Dame embers smolder

    ParisThe origin of the gigantic fire, which devastated the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral on Monday, is still unknown, but an investigation was opened for "involuntary destruction by fire," announced the Paris prosecutor's office in the evening.

    Finns Party wins second highest score in election

    HelsinkiA conservative political party that campaigned against open borders and climate change policies won the second-highest number of seats in Finland's parliamentary elections on Sunday.

    Go to archive