Sarkozy knocked out of French pres­i­den­tial race

The Myanmar Times - - World -

FOR­MER French pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Sarkozy crashed out of the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, suf­fer­ing a hu­mil­i­at­ing de­feat in the first round of the rightwing pri­mary.

Mr Sarkozy was beaten into third place af­ter a stun­ning up­set by Fran­cois Fil­lon, who served as his prime min­is­ter, with the veteran Alain Juppe fin­ish­ing sec­ond.

The sur­prise re­sult puts Mr Fil­lon in a com­mand­ing po­si­tion for the sec­ond round of the con­test on Novem­ber 27 that is widely ex­pected to de­cide France’s next leader.

With the French left­wing in dis­ar­ray, the rightwing can­di­date is tipped to face – and beat – far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the pres­i­den­tial runoff next May.

But af­ter a wave of pop­ulism saw Bri­tish vot­ers choose to leave the Euro­pean Union and swept Don­ald Trump to the White House, no one is writ­ing off Ms Le Pen’s chances.

In a ma­jor up­set, Mr Fil­lon, a probusi­ness con­ser­va­tive, took more than 44 per­cent of the vote com­pared to around 28pc for Mr Juppe, a for­mer prime min­is­ter.

Mr Sarkozy’s hopes of win­ning back the pres­i­dency were crushed as he scored just 21pc.

Mr Fil­lon, 62, pulled off a re­mark­able come-from-be­hind vic­tory in the first round af­ter trail­ing Mr Sarkozy and Mr Juppe in all but the fi­nal days of the two-month cam­paign.

Vot­ers ap­pear to have warmed to Mr Fil­lon’s un­der­stated style over the brash­ness of 61-year-old Mr Sarkozy, who still deeply di­vides the coun­try four years af­ter be­ing turfed out by the So­cial­ist Fran­cois Hol­lande.

Mr Juppe, 71, was the early fron­trun­ner but Mr Fil­lon made stun­ning progress thanks largely to strong per­for­mances in tele­vised de­bates.

In a fi­nal TV de­bate among the seven can­di­dates, Mr Sarkozy an­grily ducked a ques­tion about fresh claims that he re­ceived mil­lions in fund­ing from the late Libyan leader Moamer Kad­hafi to­ward his 2007 cam­paign.

The case is one of sev­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tions to dog Mr Sarkozy since he left of­fice.

Mr Juppe and Mr Fil­lon have broadly sim­i­lar pro­grams, un­der­pinned by pledges to re­in­force do­mes­tic se­cu­rity in a coun­try still un­der a state of emer­gency fol­low­ing ji­hadist at­tacks that killed more than 230 peo­ple. –

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