Hollande’s term ending with ‘political chaos & collapse,’ Fillon says
“The French president has clearly recognized his obvious failure, which does not allow him to move further,” Fillon wrote on his Facebook page on Thursday. “This five-year term of his duties is ending up with political chaos and collapse of power. More than ever, the recovery of France needs a strong basis — the truth, without which there is no confidence, and brave action.”
With polls saying that Francois Hollande would have not stood a chance against strong rivals like Fillon of Les Republicains or Marine Le-Pen of the far-right Front Nationale (FN), the French leader said he would not seek a second term in office in the upcoming election in 2017, becoming the first head of state not to stand for reelection in modern French history.
A new poll on Wednesday predicted he would win just seven percent of the vote in the first round of next year’s election in April, France24 reported, adding that Hollande is “the most unpopular president in French polling history.”
“I am aware today of the risk that going down a route that would not gather sufficient support would entail, so I have decided not to be a candidate in the presidential election,” Hollande acknowledged in a televised address on Thursday.
Francois Fillon is likely to triumph over Marine Le Pen in the French presidential election runoff in May, with 66 percent of the vote going to the center-right candidate, the latest opinion poll by the Elabe Institute showed, BFM TV reported.
The survey indicated that Fillon and Le Pen would take the lead after the first round of voting in April, and will get to the runoff. In the later ballot in May, the 62-year-old former PM could get as much as 66 percent of the vote, with Le Pen likely to receive 34 percent.
Fillon was previously regarded as the underdog, branded by ex-President Sarkozy as “an employee.” That was until a few weeks ago, when he convincingly beat his former boss and frontrunner Alain Juppe.
Following Fillon’s sweeping success, the French media instantly labeled him as ‘Putin's friend.’ Experts say it is easy to see why. The French media strongly supports Paris’ alliance with the US and French-German relations, “yet in reality there is a large part of public opinion in France that not often speak out openly, but know that there can be no balance in Europe without a renewed and consistent alliance with Russia,” writer and political analyst Eric Verhaeghe told RT.
“There is a need to foster a new political establishment both in France and in other countries,” France’s youngest MP and National Front member, Marion Marechal Le Pen, said in an interview with RT, published on Friday.
“This new establishment has to offer Europe a new political project and new ways of economic cooperation with the United States and, naturally, with Russia,” she added.
In an exclusive interview to be fully aired on RT next week, Former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said Hollande “has shown the courage to face reality,” arguing that the French left are currently in tatters.
“It is true that the policies conducted by [Hollande] in the last four years have not allowed him to seriously count on the French people voting for him again: unsatisfactory results, the loss of people’s trust in many areas. So [Hollande’s decision not to run] is dictated by reality. But the realistic approach is not one that is often taken by politicians. And François Hollande might make another attempt, like the others, like all his predecessors, to win back the trust of the voters.”
“This is an important decision for the left, which must select a new candidate from his party, the best possible. But they also need to reunite, which they are far from. Never before has the French left been so fragmented, both in their personal relations and the overall project,” de Villepin said, adding that the left is facing “a serious challenge.”
“The economic policy was a failure, and the reforms carried out in recent years, too, have failed. I’m also convinced that French diplomacy has failed – they’ve played no other card except the military. All of this should provoke deep thought and reform on the part of the left – if they have enough courage in the short space of time they have left, they should choose the most fitting candidate and start to work on their next comeback,” he said.