In 2007, at the beginning of his term, Nicolas Sarkozy introduced his Prime minister, François Fillon, as his “colleague”. This one, due to his reserve duty, could not reply and had not other solutions than shutting up.
But this sequence seems to be part of the past because on this last Thursday, the current MP of Paris, clearly took his distances with the ex-French president tackling the idea of the providential man putting forward by Sarkozy. According to Fillon, the UMP destiny cannot be mixed the destiny of a person and everyone should contribute for the party.
The ex-Prime minister did not lose his time to reply to the unofficial comeback of Nicolas Sarkozy in politics. Faced with him, Fillon wants to draw first, hit strong to not being overwhelmed and put his difference forward, in the sight of the 2017 presidential election.
Fillon, being candidate for 2017, seemed to be determined and wants to show he has value and he was not the kind colleague, the second of Nicolas Sarkozy only. Fillon is looking for a equal relation with the ex-French ruler, reminding him in spite of his political status and the support of some faithful activists, he is hardly anything politically speaking and he has to conquest a new legitimacy if he wants to have a more important role in the next years. This is the message François Fillon is sending to Nicolas to make understand him better, he won’t be passive anymore.
What is more, François Fillon has no really the choice vis-à-vis Nicolas Sarkozy but also Jean-François Copé who has the UMP party under control, even partially. To exist, Fillon has to strike quick, strong and hard and show his difference, introducing himself as the anti-Sarkozy not only for the pleasure to be an opponent but also to propose a new manifesto to his party and for France.
Because faced with the Sarkozy’s strategy (being the providential man) and Copé (who controls and blocks the UMP party from inside), Fillon has another possibility: working on a programmatic platform and appearing as the politician who says the truth inside the UMP which refuses any self-critic on its action, these last five years especially. To be clear, Fillon may question the outcome of his party when it ruled France, to appear as a credible alternative, that means showing his specificities vis-à-vis Sarkozy.
This strategy may be interesting at the moment Sarkozy and Copé are still unclear about the real political intentions although they are predictable easily. Fillon has no really the choice and has to play his cards rights. In other words, he is not the colleague of Sarkozy anymore.