Next year's French presidential election looks to be a three-way contest in the first round. Marine le Pen for the fascist Front National, François Fillon for the conservatives and socialist Manuel Valls are reckoned to be the only serious candidates, with Valls expected to be eliminated after the first round of voting. Valls has received very little coverage in this country, but he looks to be the most sympathetic to social democratic electors and has the great advantage that he is not Hollande.
Votewatch Europe has provided a useful pen-portrait of Fillon. As a Thatcherite, he is clearly not the person I would vote for, in spite of his Welsh wife already noted in this blog. However, he may be just the person to restore some discipline to France and thus steady nerves in the EU. His attitude to the Union certainly chimes with my own:
In his campaign programme, Fillon pleads for a “sovereign France in a Europe respectful of nations”. [...] With a pragmatic and not-federalist approach, the centre-right candidate for French presidency wants to “put aside the dream of a federal Europe” and “re-establish a more politically-functioning” EU.
I look forward to Votewatch's feature on Valls.