After Donald Trump’s surprise win on November 9th, Marine Le Pen, of the Nationalist Front party here in France, called him to congratulate him. She is hoping that the wind that has blown so far right in the UK and the USA will blow her into the Presidency of France next Spring.
François Hollande of the Socialist party and the present President, is extremely unpopular. The right (which in America would actually be the left) and the Centrist parties had a primary this past Sunday. The French; and exPats with French citizenship; stood in line for at least an hour, paid 2euros and made their choices. Alain Juppé, the Mayor of Bordeaux and a past Prime Minister-with a checkered past, was favored to win. Nicolas Sarkozy was one of the seven in the Primary and people were as much voting against him as they were for someone else. François Fillon, who surprisingly ‘won’ the Primary, got 44% of the vote. Juppé got 28% of the vote and Sarkozy got 20% of the vote. Juppé and Fillon will have a run-off this Sunday, Nov. 27. Sarkozy is out and Juppé and Fillon will be battling for Sarkozy’s followers. “They” are saying whoever wins the vote on Sunday will probably be the next President of France. That person will be running against Marine Le Pen and she will give them a run for their money.
Alain Juppé (courtesy of Reuters)
OF the two, Fillon is the more conservative. He was Sarkozy’s Prime Minister in 2007 and although the two didn’t get along very well, Sarkozy is throwing his support and his votes to Fillon. Juppé is more right (left) but has a very checkered past. It is unclear to me whether he did wrong or whether he took the blame for his President, Jacques Chirac. Either way, he has been a great Mayor for Bordeaux and, until Sunday, was the overwhelming favorite to win the Primary.
François Fillon—Sunday, after Primary (courtesy of Reuters)
As in the US, themes of economy, immigration and French identity, themes that Ms. Le Pen takes credit for bringing to the forefront, will be the dominating issues. Fillon also is advocating a nicer, gentler relationship with Putin’s Russia.
Ms. Le Pen and her followers are feeling more confident than ever that she will prevail. Those in the know say whoever runs against her will win the Presidency. They also said Brexit would never win and Trump didn’t have a chance.
Marine Le Pen, president of the Nationalist Front party (courtesy of Getty Images)
More to come,