November 28, 2016 By FTI Consulting
Primaries of the main French Opposition party: François Fillon clearly wins the nomination of the Primary of the Centre and Centre-right movement with 66.5%.
In the run up to the 2017 French Presidential elections, the main opposition party (“Les Républicains”, positioned on Right and Centre-right), nominated their candidate on Sunday November 27th: François Fillon.
Two visions of French Society were opposed during this contest. If the two contenders are both pro-business, Alain Juppé, a former Prime minister of Jacques Chirac, developed a moderate and social-democratic platform, while François Fillon, a former Prime minister of Nicolas Sarkozy, developed a more radical free-market platform partly inspired by Thatcherism.
Once the underdog of this Primary, M. Fillon caught everyone by surprise by attracting 44% of the vote in the first ballot, eliminating former president Nicolas Sarkozy. M. Fillon has won the nomination with a radical free-market, pro-business program; planning hard shock reforms, in order “to put France back on track”. He promises an “electric shock”, a return to full employment in 5 years and to shrink France’s post-war social welfare state.
M. Fillon has appealed largely to a socially conservative, ageing electorate, stating that “France is not a multicultural nation” and that “foreigners must integrate”.
As the Right and Centre-right nominee, he is well-placed to become head of state in 2017. Surveys suggest that François Hollande, the unpopular socialist president who may declare his candidacy next month, is likely to fail to qualify for the second round of the elections in May.
M. Fillon could then face Marine Le Pen, the far-right National Front leader, in the second round and would be favourite to defeat her. However, a Fillon candidacy may push Centrist François Bayrou to run as an independent, and encourage former Economy minister Emmanuel Macron, who could appeal to the moderate Juppé electorate.
Member of Parliament (1981-current)
Prime minister (2007-2012)
Minister of Education (2004-2005)
Minister of Social Affairs (2002-2004)
Minister of Communication, Posts and Space (1995-1997)
Minister of Higher Education and Research (1993-1995)
The main economic aspects of his programme are listed below:
To have a more comprehensive approach towards Russian President Vladimir Putin: to lift economic sanctions against Russia and to create a new EU-Russia trade partnership in order to open Russia’s market for French-EU companies
FTI Consulting Strategic Communications Paris will have regular updates on the Elections and the issues at stake.
An analysis from Renaud Dutreil, Chairman, FTI Consulting, Strategic Communication, France:
“François Fillon has clearly won the selection process of the Right and Centre-right movement, in a Primary in which a significant number of centre and right-wing voters participated. These voters remain, however, but a small portion of the 36 million electorate who will vote in 2017.
His election brings us back to the traditional polarization between the Left and the Right. François Fillon’s program has clearly focused on the Right and Centre-right electorate while his opponent, Alain Juppé, made a more progressive campaign appealing to all French voters. Clearly Alain Juppé got it wrong and did not focus on his own party’s wishes. He is stepping down from national politics, like the former President Nicolas Sarkozy did, one week ago. Two questions arise today : firstly, can François Fillon win with a radical free market programme that could be seen as dated by the public, or does he reflect the France electorate’s real desire for reform, after 5 years of stagnation? Secondly: will François Fillon be able to enforce his program once elected?
The 2017 election is more open than ever and its outcome remains uncertain. No-one could exclude the rise of a candidate, such as Marine le Pen or Emmanuel Macron, who would break the traditional Left-Right polarization of French Politics. Even if today’s surveys do not foresee such a scenario.”
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