François Fillon upset Alain Juppé in a surprise victory yesterday, setting himself up as the favorite to become France’s next President. More from the FT:
Partial results from 9,795 of 10,228 polling stations show Mr Fillon attracted 66.6 per cent of the vote in the primary run-off, against Alain Juppé, who secured 33.4 per cent of the vote.
The former prime minister’s victory reveals a clear shift to the right among Republican party sympathisers, who seek a return to the right-wing tenets of law and order, and a break from past economic policies with a resolutely free market economic programme.
About 4.5m voters turned out for the final round of the centre-right primary, the first being organised in France, to pick their candidate for presidential elections next year.
“For three years, I have campaigned on my values,” Mr Fillon said on Sunday evening. “France doesn’t accept its fall, France wants freedom and action. The left is leading us to failure. The extreme right leads us to bankruptcy.”
Fillon promises to serve up a cocktail composed of law-and-order policy, support for traditional French values and identity, some tougher immigration policies, and a dash of Thatcherite economics—at least to the extent of pruning back the state.
With socialist President Hollande at 4 percent in the polls and contenders like Prime Minister Manuel Valls and Emmanuel Macron struggling to gain major traction, chances are that Fillon will face Marine Le Pen in the next presidential election. It’s by no means a sure shot that he’ll win; his reputation for Thatcherite thinking may not be an asset in a national campaign. But his hard-right positions set him up well to persuade voters who might have been attracted to Le Pen if she’d been facing a more centrist candidate.