Surprise , surprise, change may be on the way for France. It is hard to believe but in the conservative primary over the weekend the former Premier Francois Fillon under Nicolas Sarkosy defeated his former boss and former Premier Alain Juppe . A run off between Juppe and Fallon is set for next week. But given Fallon’s victory over his two rivals it is most likely he will prevail over Juppe. The tally was 44% for Fallon, 28% for Juppe and only 20% for Sarkosy.
What is really interesting for an outsider is that Fallon is an admirer of Margaret Thatcher and promises to eliminate the 35 hour work week. Strong stuff in this nation of lefties and the state knows best mentality. It seems that at least ‘right ‘ thinking voters see the writing on the wall ; that the present course of their country will breed mediocrity and anemic growth . That s hard for the proud French to swallow.
Of course, it remains to be seen in a general election whether the conservative Fallon, if he wins next week , can hold off the far right Le Pen and whoever the socialists decide is their candidate . Right now socialist President Holland is very unpopular and whether he will seek his party’s nomination against is uncertain.
Yet, one must say that Fillon is a breath of fresh conservative air in an otherwise socialist , bureaucratic , nanny state. Here’s hoping Fillon can prevail.