This Sunday in France the primary to choose the conservative nominee took place. France will be holding presidential elections next year and the main political parties are trying to put their very best forward. The political contest to choose the conservative candidate for next year saw several prominent French politicians in the race. One of them was former president Nicolas Sarkozy. He was running seeking the nomination that would have afforded him another run for president. But Sarkozy conceded defeat on Sunday as he came in third in the primary race. He gave up on another run for president of France.
Nicolas Sarkozy Comes in Third in Primary Race
The results from 3.2 million ballots spelled defeat for former president Nicolas Sarkozy. He did not succeed in winning over the French conservative electorate with his promises of change. With 80 percent of polling stations reporting, François Fillon and Alain Juppé are the two conservative politicians that are going to meet in the runoff on November 27. François Fillon received 44 percent of the vote while Alain Juppé got 28.1 percent. Both Fillon and Juppé have held the office of prime minister in France and have a distinguished political career behind them.
Nicolas Sarkozy received just 21.1 percent and will not be going forward in the conservative primary race. On Sunday, after the results became apparent, he gave a speech at his campaign headquarters in Paris. He accepted that conservative voters had made a different choice this time round.
“I did not succeed in convincing a majority of voters. I do respect and understand the will of those [voters] who have chosen for the future other political leaders than me,”
said Nicolas Sarkozy.
Also, the former French president took the opportunity to call on those who have voted for him to give their vote to François Fillon in the second round of the primary election.
Conservative Candidate Might Face Far-Right
The main issues of the campaign for the conservative primary were immigration as well as Islamist extremism. Like other countries in Europe, France is facing a wave of populism that sees more and more people venting their anger at the political establishment. There is also a surge of nationalism present that sees anti-immigration sentiment manifest itself.
Whoever the conservative nominee is going to be, the right-wing candidate starts the presidential race with very good odds. France has had a left-wing president, François Hollande. Recently, Hollande’s presidency has run into some trouble that has reflected onto the left side of the political aisle. There is a good chance that the spring presidential election in France will have a right-wing winner.
But that does not necessarily have to be the conservative candidate. The leader of the far-right political party, Marine Le Pen might prove to be a serious challenge in the presidential election. Le Pen could very well pose difficulty to next year’s conservative nominee. The National Front party politician is hoping to capitalize on anti-immigration, anti-Muslim and anti-establishment sentiment in France. Whether traditionally liberal France will go for such a message remains to be seen.
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