Michel Barnier, a former EU commissioner and chief Brexit negotiator for the bloc, is one of five contenders to become the presidential candidate for France’s conservative Les Républicains party, which will choose the nominee in a vote this week. Barnier, 70, has moved from outsider to frontrunner, the result of a remarkable ideological U-turn; once a champion of European integration and a ‘humanist’ approach to immigration, which he regarded as a positive phenomenon, he now pledges to suspend further immigration and to make France independent of the EU's legal institutions. As Ilyes Ramdani reports, Barnier’s sudden shift rightwards has proved a strategic success, notably among the nationalist current in his party.
Benoît Hamon, the leftist candidate bidding for the Socialist Party’s nomination to run in France’s presidential elections this spring, has won a resounding victory over his rival, the former prime minister Manuel Valls, in the final round of the primary contest on Sunday. Hamon, 49, who represents a clear break with the policies of the current socialist government and President François Hollande, will run on a manifesto that eats into that of the radical-left, with significant consequences for the spread of the vote in the presidential election, and also on the future cohesion of France’s beleaguered Socialist Party. Follow the results and reactions as they happened throughout the evening in this live report.
Former education minister Benoît Hamon, who left the socialist government led by prime minister Manuel Valls citing his opposition to its austerity policies, came ahead of Valls in the first of the two-round Socialist Party primaries to choose its candidate for next spring's presidential elections, with a final play-off between the two due in the final round next Sunday.
Fewer voters took part in the first round of socialist primaries to choose a presidential election candidate than in the last contest in 2011, numbering 1 million at the end of the afternoon across 70% of polling stations.
The seven rivals to become the socialist candidate for this spring's presidential candidate concuded their three debates aired on national television on Thursday, with voting to begin this Sunday in a two round contest that many observers report will in reality define the candidate most likely to pick up the pieces of a landslide vote against the Left in this spring's presidential elections.
The main conservative opposition party's primaries to choose its candidate for the 2017 presidential elections, which begin Sunday evening amid more than usual interest because of the liklihood that the person chosen will reach the decisive second round next spring, is now a tight three-horse race.
The seven rivals in the race to become the presidential candidate for the mainstream right-wing opposition party Les Républicains in elections next April take to the stage Thursday for their first live TV debate, with opinion surveys indicating that former president Nicolas Sarkozy lags behind veteran Gaullist Alain Juppé.
Alain Juppé, the leading contender for conservative Les Républicains party primaries, launched his campaign Saturday with a meeting in which he proposed a more conciliatory tone towards French Muslims.
France’s conservative opposition party, Les Républicains, is gearing up for its primary elections in November. These will decide who will be the party’s candidate in presidential elections to held in May next year. There are 12 declared runners for the party’s nomination, with widely varying chances of success, and one notable as-yet undeclared candidate, Nicolas Sarkozy, but who is certain to join the race. Aurélie Delmas looks at the policy propositions from the front runners, who all promise an undiluted dose of neoliberalism, spelling attacks on public sector workers, the middle classes and those who depend on welfare benefits.
Nicolas Sarkozy’s official return to politics last year, when he was elected head of his conservative opposition party, was, his supporters believed, the start of a relatively easy march back to power in elections due in 2017. But the wily former French president, once considered a masterful political tactician, appears to have lost his grip, unable to offer policy initiatives and mired in infighting and scandal. Ellen Salvi hears from party insiders in this analysis of where it has all gone wrong for the man who, a former aide admits, “wants to regain power for the sake of regaining power”.