Right’s new leader is no Le Pen Mk2 ...he can win

Simon Heffer, the renowned political commentator and historian, turns his gaze to French politics

© Colloque Europe Laurent Wauquiez Fondapol

In choosing Laurent Wauquiez – so-called ‘bad boy of the right’ – to be their new president, Les Républicains will have had one major consideration.

It won’t have been to do with his politics, which have been characterised as being so far to the right of most of those in the conservative movement in France that he could easily team up with Marine Le Pen (an assertion he vigorously repudiates).

It won’t have been his relative youth (he is, at 42, just three years older than President Macron, and so his party can be seen to have skipped a generation in choosing him).

It will be his what-you-see-is-what-you-get approach to politics. If he has been as straight with his clientele about himself as he has been about his ideology, then he is what his party needs.

The shock of having chosen, in the apparently blameless and competent François Fillon, ...

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