Sarkozy Concedes Defeat In First Republican Primary, Backs Fillon

Update: It's official - not only is Sarkozy out, but he is backing Francois Fillon, in a setback for the alleged - if only according to the ever more embarrassing industry of pollsters - frontrunner for the presidency, Alain Juppe, and another big win for Marine Le Pen.

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Less than four months after he announced (what he hoped would be) his triumphal return to politics, the hopes of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy have imploded, as a result of a poor showing in today's first presidential primary in France in which the conservatives will pick their candidate for president.

As the Tribune de Geneve writes, "ever since 2012, Sarkozy only dreamed of only one thing: his revenge. To be re-elected president in 2017. But tonight, it is the voters of right and center that have eliminated Nicolas Sarkozy." Citing early exit polls, the publication writes that the former president did not succeed in convincing his "political family" that he was the man that France needs to bring change. The first exit polls show Sarkozy in third spot, with only 24% of the vote in today's French primary, behind both Juppe and Fillon.

 

Sarkozy finds himself far behind Alain Juppé and François Fillon: the two former prime ministers lead the way. While we have to wait for the official announcement for the official results, TdG notes that the second round of the primary, due next week, "looks exciting because the dynamics initiated by François Fillon undermine the confidence in Alain Juppé who has been favorite for a year."

Indeed, according to many pollsters - especially those who can not conceive of a Le Pen presidency - Juppe was expected to be the next president of France; which is why his surprisingly poor showing, in second place with just 26% of the vote per exit polls, could mean he has an uphill climb in his fight with Le Pen, who may be the biggest winner from today's primary.

Two surprises then: the unexpectedly strong result of Francois Fillon and the elimination of Nicolas Sarkozy.