French presidential elections 2017: How would France look if Francois Fillon was president
Francois Fillon, former prime minister of France, is the Republican’s candidate in the presidential election which will take place on Sunday in Hexagon. Considered one of the strongest competitors with chances to reach the second round of the presidential race, he was previously ranked first in electorate’s preferences, but he dropped to the bottom of the podium, losing ground amid allegations over a “fake job” scandal, beeing accused that he paid his wife and two children from public funds.
Although he initially said he would leave the race if he was officially prosecuted, he later changed his mind complainning that he was the victim of a “political assassination”.
Currently, Francois Fillon is ranked third in the preferences of voters from Hexagon, the most recent poll conducted by Ipsos / Sopra / Steria and released on Friday ranking him as the extreme left candidate Luc Melenchon, with 19 per cent chances in the first round.
What will happen in France if Fillon will be president
Francois Fillon is economically focused on cutting public spendings – its target being a 100 billion decrease in five years, and a drop in the share of these spendings from 57% of GDP to less than 50 per cent by 2022 – but also eliminating wealth tax and increasing the age of retirement.
The most affected by the measures proposed by him will be the employees, whether they are from the public or private sector, given that the number of jobs will fall significantly, the number of working hours will be extended and the retirement age will increase.
Counting on the fact that one in five people, or a total of 5 million people, works in the public service, local government and public healthcare, Fillon wants to reduce budget spendings by cutting 500,000 jobs in the public sector by not replacing all retiring civil servants, and the increase of the working week to 39 hours, which will apply immediately in the public sector from his appointment as president.
When it comes to companies from France, there will be will radical changes, as the Republican wants to allow them to extend the working week to 48 hours, the maximum accepted by the EU. They will also benefit from a reduction in the corporate tax rate to 25%, 8.3 percentage points less than the current level.
For the unemployed, the candidate has proposed to limit the benefits to 75% of wages at the moment of job termination, followed by gradual decreases.
As far as the retirement age, Fillon wants to grow it to 65 years, 3 years longer than the current limit, but also to abolish special early-retirement provisions for state workers.
His campaign program purposes to reach zero deficit in the public sector over 5 years, from 3.7% of GDP in 2017, an estimated 1 percentage point higher than the current government’s forecast for the this year, which also announced that in 2016 the public sector deficit was 3.4%.
Homosexual couples will also suffer if Fillon is appointed president. He is an opponent of same-sex marriages, a law against which he voted in 2013. Even though, despite his personal reservations, he will not give up on this law, the Republican will limit their adoption rights. Thus, if currently homosexual parents can obtain like heterosexual couples new birth certificates to be mentioned as parents of adopted children, who thus lose all legal ties with their natural parents, Fillon’s coming to the highest position in the state maintains this facility to cut the link between children adopted with natural parents only for heterosexual couples.
Neither immigrants will benefit from a relaxed policy, in the context of which, like Marine Le Pen, he wants to reduce immigration and invest heavily in security, defense and justice by increasing the number of policemen and gendarmes by a total of 10,000 and increase the number of prisons by 16,000.
Fillon, as his extreme right-wing counterpart, remarked by making controversial promises such as stripping jihadists returning from wars in Iraq or Syria of French nationality, and banning them from returning to France, closer connections to Russia, and offering support to Syrian President Bashar al- Assad in the fight against the Islamic State.
Fillon’s foreign policy also considers closer connections with the United States and US President Donald Trump, as well as collaborating with Russia in the Syrian war, arguing also for lifting EU sanctions against Russia after annexing Crimea.
Francois Fillon‘s plans include also reforming the European Union and the Schengen agreement by imposing internal and external border controls and limiting immigration, calling for an external police force at Europe’s borders. However, the European Monetary Union will not suffer as he focuses on the governance of the euro zone, supporting stronger decision-making links between the countries in this area.