As expected, Francois Fillon will be the conservative candidate in next year’s French presidential election. His rival Alain Juppe Conceded Defeat.
With a majority of polling stations counted, Fillon has about 67% of the vote.
Francois Fillon won France’s first-ever conservative presidential primary Sunday after promising drastic free-market reforms and a crackdown on immigration and Islamic extremism, beating a more moderate rival who had warned of encroaching populism.
Fillon campaigned on promises of slashing public spending, capping immigration, support for traditional family values and friendlier ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Fillon enjoyed a surprise surge in popularity in recent weeks over longtime front-runner Juppe, who also previously served as the country’s prime minister.
In a sober victory speech, Fillon promised to defend “French values” and said France needs “a complete change of software.”
Fillon, a conservative Catholic who opposed France’s law legalizing same-sex marriages, said he plans to reduce immigration to France “to a minimum” — positioning himself firmly to Juppe’s right.
Fillon wants to drop sanctions against Russia over its aggressive actions in Ukraine and partner with Russia in the fight against Islamic State extremists. Fillon insists “Russia poses no threat” to the West, while Juppe wants France to continue putting pressure on Putin on various fronts.
They both pledged to cut public spending, reduce the number of civil servants, raise the retirement age from 62 to 65, end the 35-hour work week and cut business taxes.
All French citizens over 18 — whether they are members of the Republicans party or not — were eligible to vote in the primary, if they paid 2 euros in fees and signed a pledge stating they “share the republican values of the right and the center.”
Will Hollande Run?
The socialists still have their primary coming up. Hollande has not decided if he will run. The announced candidates are former economic minister Arnaud Montebourg, Marie-Noëlle Lienemann, and Benoît Hamon. Incumbent prime minister Manuel Valls may also throw his hat into the ring.
French Presidential Election Roundup
Emmanuel Macron, who recently resigned as Hollande’s Minister of Economy will represent a new part he started “En Marche!”.
There are other minor parties including the Greens, Democratic movement, and Left Party (Parti de Gauche), none of which has a chance, but all will get on the ballot for Round One of the election.
Assuming no candidate gets 50% of the vote in round one of the election, the top two candidates will square off.
At the moment that would appear to be le Pen and Fillon.
Heading into this runoff there was a Fillon-Le Pen bet one could have made that was a guaranteed winner, presuming of course that would be the final match-up. I made that bet on Wednesday, after Fillon was the round one leader in the primary.
On Wednesday, the betting odds on Bovada looked like this.
I booked the above bet. It is largely a symbolic bet because the largest bet Bovada would accept on any candidate was a measly $37.50.
My $50 total bet will return $51.43 if Fillon wins and $60.00 if Le Pen wins.
One could have gotten very nice odds on Fillon before round one in the primaries.
There is a chance some other candidate than le Pen squares off against the winner of the Republican primary but that seems unlikely at the moment.
Benefit to Le Pen?
Fillon is a strong free market advocate who seeks to shrink government. Fillon also wants better relations with Russia. Le Pen is anti-immigration, anti-EU, and anti-euro.
Juppe claimed that he had a better chance against le Pen than Fillon. Voters either discarded that notion or simply did not care.
Socialists did turn out huge to vote for Fillon in round 1 of the primary. They wanted to bump off Nicolas Sarkozy and they did.
In French elections one can vote in any primary by paying a fee and pledging to hold the party’s values. In regards to platform vales, it’s safe to say many voters lied.
Regardless, the purge of establishment candidates continues.
EU nannycrats will be rooting for Fillon, but they lose something either way. Both Le Pen and Fillon seek better relations with Russia.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock