Alain Juppe came second in the Republican Party's first-round presidential primaries.
REMY GABALDA/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Alain Juppe came second in the Republican Party's first-round presidential primaries.

Story highlights

Served as prime minister under Jacques Chirac from 1996 to 1997

Seen as moderate compared with Republican frontrunner Francois Fillon

CNN —  

Alain Juppe’s chances of becoming France’s next president appeared a lot more likely a week ago.

The 71-year-old had been tipped to win the Republican Party’s first-round presidential nominations – but instead came second to Francois Fillon.

The veteran politicians, both former prime ministers, will now go head-to-head in a final vote for the party’s nomination on November 27.

Third-placed former President Nicolas Sarkozy meanwhile, was knocked out of the race altogether.

Juppe secured just over 28% of the vote in the first round, and is still seen as an experienced politician in the running for the center-right party’s presidential candidacy.

Because of the unpopularity of President Francois Hollande’s socialist party, whoever is named the Republican nominee will likely complete against the leader of the far-right National Front, Marine Le Pen for the presidency in April next year.

READ MORE: Who is Juppe’s opponent, Francois Fillon?

Juppe the moderate

Juppe is the current mayor of Bordeaux who also served as prime minister from 1995 to 1997 under President Jacques Chirac.

He’s considered a moderate who promises to promote a “happy national identity” if he comes to power.

In 2004, Juppe was found guilty of corruption and originally sentenced to 18 months in prison and barred from holding public office for a decade – later reduced to 14 months imprisonment and one year of ineligibility.

While deputy mayor of Paris in charge of finance in the 1980s and 1990s, Juppe was accused of using public funds to pay political allies.

The father-of-three lives in the Bordeaux region with his journalist wife Isabelle Legrand-Bodin.

What does he stand for?

In a nutshell: He has promised economic reform, effective border control within and outside Europe, an end to the 35-hour work week, and more investment in security and the fight against terrorism.

Alain Juppe votes in the Republican primaries alongside his wife Isabelle.
MEHDI FEDOUACH/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Alain Juppe votes in the Republican primaries alongside his wife Isabelle.

Critical of Russia: While Juppe has not opposed discussions with Moscow, he has been critical of Russia’s alliance with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and the bombing of Aleppo. Juppe is also opposed to French military intervention on the ground in Syria.

Supports longer working hours: Juppe wants to raise the retirement age from 62 to 65, and increase the working week from 35 hours to 39.

Against burkini ban: “Juppe was against the burkini ban which was quite rare on the right side of politics at the time, and I think that will play against him in the Republican primaries,” said Aurelien Mondon, senior lecturer in French politics at Bath University.

Unification: “The broad message Juppe is trying to get across is a moderate, unified, appeased France,” said Mondon. “It’s a lot less ‘angry politics’ than we have today and you can see in the Trump and Brexit campaigns.”

Could he be France’s next president?

Juppe is seen in France as a reliable and experienced right-wing politician who has held very important portfolios in the past, according to Mondon.

“He’s seen as solid,” Mondon continued. “But he’s also seen as someone who is quite old and very much part of the establishment.

“So in a time of right wing populist politics, that might play against him.”