This past week saw the French election for the next President heat up after Nicolas Sarkozy announced his campaign. The current President, Francois Hollande, is expected to lose to either Sarkozy or another past President, Alain Juppé after his ratings plummeted. Eight out of 10 French voters currently support a second term of the current government, according to The Telegraph this week.
Juppé, the current frontrunner, stands for the centre-right Republican Party, which Sarkozy is currently the leader of. In the past week, Sarkozy has closed the gap on Juppé, with the pair tied at 34% of support from centre-right voters.
Sarkozy is running his campaign based on the issues of immigration and security and has gained support over the recent Burkini debacle. Sarkozy insisted that he would back French mayors who are opposing the Human Rights Court’s decision to lift the ban. In a recent French poll, three-quarters of French voters say that they support the ban.
This week, Sarkozy spoke in the northern town of Le Touquet, calling for the migrant ‘jungle’ camp in Calais to be shut down and border controls to be returned to Britain. Sarkozy signed the deal to move British border controls to France in Le Touquet in 2003 and argues that they should no longer be France’s problem. The Calais migrant ‘jungle’ is currently home to 9,000 migrants. If this was to be successful, it is thought that Britain would be met with up to 90,000 more migrants each year.
The British Prime minister, Theresa May, responded arguing that there would be no re-negotiations and British border controls would remain in France. On Tuesday, the British Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, travelled to Paris for a meeting with her French counterpart in order to force this issue.
It looks to be that the 2017 French Election will be fought over these issues of immigration and security between the centre-right candidates vying for the Presidential nomination. The recent fuss over the Burkini ban shows the importance these issues within the mind of the French voter. After the most recent terrorist tragedy in Nice on Bastille day, national security has become the top priority for voters. Due to this, many French citizens have become disillusioned with the current French Socialist Party and are becoming more swayed by the centre-right policies offered by The Republicans.