I remember years ago turning on the tevision to Television France 5 and wondering who was the man being interviewed? He looked profound, was careful with his listening and even more careful with his replies.
I thought though that he looked like a man of stature but had never heard of him. Journalists were also acting very careful not to be too provocative, and certainly not even remotely confrontational with him.
That impeccably dressed and well mannered man was Francois Fillon, currently one of two Conservative candidates who are set for a party primary, run-off that may very well decide the next President of France. Or not.
I thought here was a man with much respect, collegiality but who also kept to his ideologically conservative leitmotif without being insulting about it or insulted over it. Though the journalists at that roundtable did not see so supportive of his views, they just did not feel mobilized to cut him to pieces (which I recently saw done on French TV to ex-French president Sarkozy who, by the way, valiantly defended himself). That was more than several years ago when I first became aware of Fillon and he was campaigning to become prime minister.
One thing I like about Fillon is that he is able to stay steady, shown so under the presidency of Sarkozy who to be fair about it was erratic and even manic at times. Fillon, instead has the infinite patience to let negative forces play themselves out to exhaustion and defeat. It may be shown even over the recent scandal hitting him over his wife being paid from the public purse for work not done.
But if anything negative can be said about him, given France’s emergency situations, too much of that patience that may also come from having numerous children may be a little too much.
For France is very stubborn to holding onto some of its rather leftist economic ideas overly ensconced in French Revolution ideology. This is all while the clock is running out on matters of the economy and national security, as seen by the high level of unemployment, degree of polarization and nightmares of so many incidents of horrible terrorism.
Therefore out of such frustration, sad to say, a political bulldozer like Le Pen of the far right may be more wished for by a sizeable number of a truly fed-up French electorate who are economically bleeding. Simply stated, patience has run out with the overly patient, more status quo, old timer, Old Boyish, top political players. A younger, agent for much more change like Le Pen who would become the first female President of France, may become evermore attractive.
A major analysis suggests that she will win, based on a highly sophisticated computer background used by a major investment group. http://www.cnbc.com/2017/02/15/marine-le-pen-is-on-course-to-be-frances-next-president-leonie-hill-capitals-arun-kant-says.html
However, much of the French electorate, tired of the old pro- governmental ideas and political correctness may make it easier for Fillon to be more pointed in expressing his desires for reforms towards a more flexible market for services and goods and human resources with less obstructive government interference. If the people are ready, then cautious Mr.Fillon is likely more ready to move faster, if he gains the presidency, on his conservative platform of reforms.
I also think this understated leader will not get trapped into making impossible and ridiculous goals which his opposition, Mare Le Pen could make in her more emotional campaign she would likely conduct. And I predict would crush the absolutely bland, too status quo Juppe and even give trouble to Fillon if he were to emerge as a finalist in the French presidential race.
Fillon has a certain common sense and amicability dealing with a wide range of electorate. It may be because he comes from a smaller town, more laid back region than being from a major urban space. That gives him a somewhat populist base, as well as being educated at the undergraduate level in the smaller town of Le Mans where he possibly learned to enjoy car racing.
Besides, he is not an ENArquiste graduated from the elite civil service university institute accused of generating too much elitism among presidents and top civil servants. And that promotes too much faith in technocracy and overall government.
Fillon will have to show more energy, passion combined with his evenmindedness and emotional control where need be in the face of what will be one of the meanest campaigns in French presidential election history. The far right will be throwing more political “Molotov cocktails” against the establishment than ever seen before with more and more of the populace approving if not clapping.
If Fillon cannot show more fire in his belly when needing to go on the thorough attack, if not celebrity charisma like Trump then the recent US election phenomenon could reoccur in France.
For Marine Le Pen will wrap herself in the French flag and mobilize normally pro-Socialist Party workers and the unemployed and underemployed to her side. After all, Hollande has thoroughly discredited the Socialist Party and neither Juppe nor Fillion offers them enough to attract their loyalty.
Polls that show it is impossible for her to win a presidential election should be discounted, just as those polls should have been that showed Hillary would win by a mile. These polling metrics also had Fillion finishing third in the French Conservative party primaries but in fact he came first with not finishing so far from getting over half of the voters.
Fillion is therefore well placed to becoming the conservative party candidate in the French presidential election, particularly with third place finishing Sarkozy asking his supporters to support Fillion in the next round of primary voting.
Frankly, I predict Le Pen winning as both Juple and Fillon will be portrayed as yesterday’s men who played a role in getting France into the horrible position the country is in. Probably France’s conservatives needed a candidate truly outside the political system (like Trump) and may pay for not coming up with one in the end.