Sarkozy out

The Guardian reports:

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s political career has been effectively ended, after he was dealt a humiliating defeat on Sunday by his former prime minister François Fillon in the first round of the race to choose the rightwing Republican party’s candidate for the presidency next spring.

Fillon, a socially conservative, free-market reformer who admires Margaret Thatcher and voted against same-sex marriage, came close to winning the nomination straight out, with around 43% of the poll.

A free market reformer may become President of France? Be still my beating heart.

The divisive former president Sarkozy suffered a humiliating defeat, knocked out of the race after he ran a hard-right campaign on French national identity, targeting Muslims and minorities. His poor score after a campaign in which he suggested banning Muslim headscarves from universities and was forced to protest his innocence faced with several legal investigations into corrupt campaign financing, showed he had become just as much a hate figure on the right as on the left.

Fillon and Juppé now have one week to do battle over who could better unite French voters against the far-right in a country struggling with mass unemployment, economic sluggishness and the threat of terrorism.

Donald Trump’s US win has thrown the spotlight on France as the next place for a possible shake-up of the political system. Polls have consistently shown that the Front National leader, Marine Le Pen, will make it to the French presidential final round runoff next May, but that it would be difficult for her to win.

Except the Independent reports:

Front National leader Marine Le Pen has taken a sizeable lead over Nicolas Sarkozy in a new French presidential election poll.

The far-right leader had 29 per cent of the vote when pitted against Les Républicains’ former president, who was eight points behind, and held a 15-point lead over the Parti de Gauche’s Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the poll released by Ipsos.

So if Sarkozy is out, what do the polls show:

  • Juppe would beat Le Pen by 36% or so
  • Fillon would beat Le Pen by 30% or so

So President Fillon is pretty likely.

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