- Title: French right wing frontrunner Juppe says: "No to demagogy"
- Date: 9th November 2016
- Summary: RALLY ONGOING
- Embargoed: 24th November 2016 22:46
- Keywords: Juppe election Trump supporters
- Location: BORDEAUX, FRANCE
- City: BORDEAUX, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA00257Q90EF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: After Donald Trump's shock win in the United States, French pollsters and pundits are now warning that surprises should not be ruled out in France's presidential election next year because of an untested primary system and a fragmented political field.
With poll after poll showing far-right leader Marine Le Pen emerging as one of the top two candidates in the first round but losing the second-round run-off, commentators have presented ex-prime minister Alain Juppe's victory as almost guaranteed.
Le Pen was quick to congratulate Trump on Wednesday, saying his win was part of a much wider revolt by voters against political elites worldwide.
"The first truth on which I want to insist is that the National Front lies to French people. First, in spite of all the efforts it makes to de-demonize itself, one can easily see that its ideology is not compatible with our values and with the vision we have of France. To come back to what I was saying in the beginning, all the inspirers of the National Front are playing Petain against De Gaulle, ours is De Gaulle," Juppe told a crowd of supporters at a rally in Bordeaux.
"Shame on the liars, shame on the slanderers, shame on far right manipulative people and on their accomplices," he added.
Incumbent Francois Hollande, who has yet to confirm his candidacy, is the most unpopular president in history, polls show no other leftist candidate has much of a chance, and former conservative leader Nicolas Sarkozy is also widely unpopular.
That would leave the way to the Elysee Palace wide open for Juppe, a moderate conservative seen as a safe pair of hands. Or so the story goes in the French media.
Just as in the United States and Britain, where opinion polls and the media presented a Trump defeat and a pro-European Union vote as a sure thing, French voters do not like to be told in advance what the result of an election will be, he added.
That has played into the hands of outsiders before, and it could benefit National Front leader Le Pen this time.
Her father Jean-Marie Le Pen unexpectedly reached the second round runoff in 2002 and former president Jacques Chirac beat Edouard Balladur, long the media favorite, in 1995.
Next year's election is also one of the most open in decades because for the first time both mainstream center-right and center-left parties will pick a candidate via a primary system open to any registered voter, making likely outcomes harder to measure for pollsters.
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