French politics

François Fillon’s audacious and hazardous strategy

François Fillon, Nicolas Sarkozy's PM from 2007 to 2012

François Fillon, Nicolas Sarkozy’s PM from 2007 to 2012

I will be candidate for the 2017 presidential election, whatever happens”. That François Fillon said during an official visit in Japan on the last Thursday, putting forward his future political ambitions more.

The former MP of Sarthe and current MP of Paris has just unveiled his intentions, challenging Jean-François Copé and Nicolas Sarkozy in the prospect of the 2017 presidential elections. His strategy is as hazardous as audacious, the ex-Prime minister looking for taking initiative and showing his difference within the UMP party.

The François Fillon’s intentions are not so surprising insofar as he already dealt with it standing out from Nicolas Sarkozy or trying to be candidate as mayor of Paris for the 2014 local elections. Nonetheless, deciding to run for the French presidency now, the one who was considered by Nicolas Sarkozy as an “assistant” wishes to appear a credible alternative to François Hollande and within the UMP party to Jean-François Copé and Nicolas Sarkozy, in a context the main-right-party is paralysed by its defeat in 2012 and did not still question Sarkozy’s policy.

François Fillon enjoys a certain freedom insofar as he is less politically exposed compared with Jean-François Copé and Nicolas Sarkozy. While the first rules the UMP party and the second is still harmed by his defeat, the current MP of Paris may express his opinions and his intentions more easily. He is not the UMP leader and can speak to not the activists but the whole French people. In fact, the former PM may appear as a rallying person to bypass his two main rivals.

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What is more, Copé and Sarkozy are trapped by Fillon and cannot reply to him for the moment. Despites some obvious signs, they can’t put their presidential ambitions forward, without taking account the fact that the opinion might not appreciate and/or disapprove. Consequently, Fillon is using the primaries hypothesis and forcing Copé and Sarkozy to accept this procedure in order to be legitimistic and have the right to challenge Hollande in 2017, the two men wanting to appear as the providential leaders within the UMP party and towards activists.

Confirming his intentions for 2017, François Fillon probably understood the interest he had the organization of primaries within the UMP party, especially if he campaigns now. In fact, he uses the Nicolas Sarkozy’s (when he was interior minister from 2002 and 2007) and Parti socialiste (when he defends the principal of primaries) strategy to power both. A subtle way to be in advance and trap Copé and Sarkozy but will François Fillon be able to propose an alternative to Frenchs and not to insult the UMP party both? That’s his challenge!

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