François Fillon secured the nomination of the French center-right les Républicains party on Sunday; his victory over Alain Juppé was expected. But the margin of victory was triumphant with a 68,4%- to- 31,6%.
That was not bad for the man running as the “third candidate” last Sunday.
Making France great again
“France can’t bear its decline. It wants the truth, and it wants action,” he said on Sunday evening. More than three million French were engaged in these primaries to elect the Presidential candidate of les Républicains, who pollsters project may also be the next President of France.
The former Prime Minister of the Sarkozy administration (2007-2012) and current Mayor of Bordeaux has all the characteristics of the politically incorrect outsider that storms the world.
He combines an unusual for France public allegiance to Christian values with a program that includes abolishing the 35-hour week and moving to undercut the power of unions. He wears the accusation of being “Thatcherite” as a badge.
However, he is socially conservative and opposes same-sex marriage, opposes abortion, and has been recently accused of misogyny. In the last debate before the election night, he vowed not to touch abortion law in France.
He also favours a rapprochement with Vladimir Putin in Syria and is willing to work with President-elect Donald Trump.
Fillon addresses a France that has suffered successive terrorist attacks has double-digit unemployment. “Making France great again” or “France first” are slogans resonating with the public.
The cover of the center-left Liberation last Tuesday, making François Fillon look more Margaret Thatcher
For over a year polls suggest Marine Le Pen of the far-right Front National will make it to the second round of Presidential elections.
That means that the French conservative right will have two candidates with a similar social agenda and one significant cleavage, that is, Europe. Fillon will carry the badge of the pro-European.
According to the polls, the Socialists do not stand a chance with any candidate against Marine Le Pen. In the Presidential runoff, Fillon could have the support of the pro-European political spectrum. However, Fillon is also a divisive candidate. That calculation is in now in jeopardy as it is Le Pen that has framed the agenda of the Presidential debate.