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Next Stop the Republican Primary …. in France!
Dialogue with the Alter Ego on the Front National, Sarkozy and the next chapter of France’s struggle with the
austerity and globalization, first drafted on Dec 17, published on Dec. 18, 2015

Question by Alter Ego of Noah denkt™ (AE): The outcome of the recent regional elections in France has yet
again stirred fears about the seemingly unstoppable rise of the far-right National Front in that country. Although
the Front National (FN) eventually failed to win any of the 7 regions (out of 13) where it had come first in the
first round of voting on Dec. 6, its scores in that earlier round of voting were so staggeringly high (28%
compared to 11% in 2010) that it cannot be ruled out any longer that the FN’s leader Marine Le Pen will
actually reach the second round in the 2017 Presidential Elections. On May 25, 2014,
Noah denkt™ had
already expressed its concern about the continued unease that French voters apparently feel with respect to
austerity politics, free trade and open borders. In fact, this project has been alarmingly pessimistic in that
comment about France’s future participation in the Euro currency project insinuating that France might  want to
leave the Euro in a not too distant future. Does Noah denkt™ still stand by this assessment?

Answer by Noah denkt™ (Nd): Honestly, we are not as pessimistic any more about France’s continued
participation in the Euro project as we were back in 2014. Although we still see the fundamental and historic
soul-searching challenge which the Euro-project poses to France’s sense of identity, we are now more
confident that the country will eventually make a conscious decision in favor of internationalism and against the
concept of national exclusiveness. In fact, it seems to us, as if the rise of Front National will provide France with
a unique opportunity to live through a cathartic moment of clarification during which the old, bipolar curse of
having to swing between cultural supremacy claims on one hand and nagging fears of competitive inferiority on
the other can be finally broken.  After all, it will be the hard to ultimate avoid the realization that France’s
national interests are better served inside the Euro and inside a close alliance with Germany rather than
outside of it.

AE: What has changed your mind here?

Nd: It’s the fact that we are now one year on in our efforts to recover from the earlier Euro crisis. It’s the fact
that countries like Cyprus, Ireland, and notably Portugal and Spain have actually demonstrated that structural
reforms combined with fiscal discipline do produce positive economic results. It’s the fact that
the EU -Tsipras
standoff of 2014 has made it clear that there is no patience any more among the Euro member state
governments for ideas of major fiscal leniency and related redistribution schemes. And, finally,  it’s the fact that
France’s center-right party, formerly known as “UMP” now branded as “Les Républicaines” is a little less in
disarray than it was during
the Copé -Fillon battle right after Sarkozy’s loss to François Hollande.   

AE: Could you not have anticipated these changes in 2014? Was there really a need to scare us as you did
your May 25 comment?

Nd: Well, at the time it did look a lot as if both mainstream parties in France, the Socialist and the UMP, were
doomed to fail in future elections. Their leadership was either immersed in internal strife and/or had by and
large lost their credibility in the eyes of the French public. At least, the center-right has now managed to set up
a road plan that should take it to a commonly agreed-upon presidential candidate and hopefully also to  
electoral credibility and inspirational charisma.  

AE: It is probably all due to the reappearance of
Nicolas Sarkozy as a contender for the party’s Presidential
nomination that structure, order and hope has returned to the Republicans, isn’t it?

Nd: Yes and no. There is no denying that Mr. Sarkozy’s re-entry into French politics has provided a much
needed focal and rallying point for the center-right. Without him we would probably not have seen the re-
branding of the UMP which against all odds has imbued the center-right with a new whiff of energy.
Nevertheless, we also feel that Mr. Sarkozy is a spent force on the French, national stage. He had is moment at
the helm and it would be best for the center-right cause if he could muster the stature to cede the limelight to
another shining light in the Republican movement.     

AE: And who could that other shining star possibly be? Clearly not Mr. Juppé, who was found guilty in 2004 for
misusing public funds. After that, he can hardly figure as an inspirational force for the future.

Nd: Well, Mr. Juppé served his suspended 18 month prison sentence. So he does deserve the chance of a
fresh start, doesn't he? . But generally speaking, you are right, that so far not much inspiration is to be found
among the candidates that have up to now thrown their hat into the Republican ring. But even if there isn't too
much charisma around at this time, there is at least one solid technocrat in the field of hopefuls that in our mind
deserves extra attention: And that is M Fillon. He had pretty good ratings while being Mr. Sarkozy’s prime
minister. And he comes across as a no-nonsense kind of guy, which France desperately needs just now.

AE: Mr. Fillon however participated in that suicidal leadership battle with Jean-François Copé. That certainly
tainted his image.

Nd: Well, at least he did not altogether lose that battle. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have “Les Républicaines” today.
So there is at least some room to hope that Mr. Fillon, might have “la fortune” which Napoleon was looking for
when deciding on his military commanders.
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The rise of the Front National in France, Presidential candidates of Les Républicaines,
Presidential hopefuls of the Republican Party in France, France's soul-searching in the
face of global competition, protectionism versus free trade in France, a capitulation point
in French politics