Sarkozy Exits Stage

sarkozyPollsters get it wrong again — this time in France

By Paul Jacobs in Paris

One of France’s most controvertible and colourful politicians, Nicolas Sarkozy, has announced the end of his political career.

Although he was President for one term from 2007 to 2012, Sarkozy has come in at third place in the first of two rounds to elect a presidential candidate for next year’s elections.

The man most likely to succeed: Francois Fillon
The man most likely to succeed: Francois Fillon

So the playoff next Sunday will be between former prime minister under Nicolas Sarkozy, François Fillon, and another former prime minister, Alan Juppé, mayor of Bordeaux.

Pollsters got it all wrong — shades of recent events across the Atlantic — plugging for Mr Juppé.

However Mr Fillon flew past the post with a strong lead. With most votes counted, he obtained over 44% of the vote. Juppé garnered 28.3% and Sarkozy just under  21%.

Fillon’s surprise win is said, in part, to be due to a sound economic programme but, above all, to a strong performance in the three recent debates. Eight candidates took part in the debates.

BBC’s view on Sarkozy’s downfall

The BBC’s Lucy Williamson comments:

“Since his return to politics two years ago, Mr Sarkozy has seen his dominance of the centre-right leach steadily to his rivals.

“He banked on a hard-right agenda, sailing close to the policies of far-right leader Marine Le Pen on issues like security, immigration and French identity.

“Whether it’s his policies that have apparently alienated France, his previous record as president, or the scandals that have dogged him since he left, Mr Sarkozy is out of next year’s presidential race before it’s truly begun.”