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February 01, 2017

Do Republicans have a plan B if Fillon falls?

François Fillon continues his campaign as if nothing has happened. But new revelations by Le Canard Enchaîné raised the heat on him and prompted some party figures to think about Plan B. The latest allegations are that Penelope Fillon got paid €831,400 over the years, not €500,000 as reported last week, earning sometimes more than €10,000 per month. Worse still, the newspaper also reveals that two of his children got a salary of €84,000 while still studying, with monthly payments of €3814 for a Marie and €4846 for her brother. 

What is the reaction among Republicans? Officially the party stands behind Fillon. The Fillons explained their affairs to a magistrate for five hours on Monday. This was welcomed as a fast-paced judicial investigation. Fillon’s team is looking at who leaked this information, which they call a "stink bomb", to the investigative journal. 

The evidence will take time, but the doubt about Fillon is planted. And with only months to go until the first round of the presidential elections, the question is whether the party can afford to have doubts cast over its candidate. Nobody wants to be linked to any Plan B talk right now, and every camp suspects the others of dropping their support for Fillon. But Republicans and their advisers are asking behind close doors whether they should drop Fillon to save the party's chances. Should they ask Fillon to resign and, if so, when? Should they wait for him to decide? Maybe the worst can still be avoided. After all, the volatile results from the primaries suggest that Fillon can be undone without greater harm. Or not? What is clear from these considerations It is clear that Fillon’s candidacy is hanging on a thread, writes Cécile Cornudet.

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February 01, 2017

Unforgiven

One of the key events in the modern history of the SPD was the sudden resignation of Oskar Lafontaine as chairman of the SPD and German finance minister on March 11, 1999. In 2005, Lafontaine resigned his membership of the SPD and eventually joined the Left Party, becoming one of the party’s leaders. Lafontaine was instrumental in establishing the Left Party as a pan-German political force, the kind of political rival the SPD previously managed to suppress. For as long as Lafontaine was around, it would be impossible for SPD and Left Party to form a coalition.

Lafontaine is no longer as influential as he once was. He is still the leader of the Left Party in the parliament of the Saarland, but he is no longer one of the party leaders in Berlin. His voice still matters, though. He told Frankfurter Rundschau that he rejects a so-called red-red-green coalition. The SPD and the Green Party supported foreign war, weapons exports, and a euro policy that produced social unrest in southern Europe. For as long as they support those policies, there can be no ground for co-operation, he said.

Irrespective of Lafontaine’s influence, we would agree with the observation that the political gap that would need to be bridged remains very large, and it has not become any smaller with Martin Schulz as SPD chairman. Schulz is more in the tradition of Gerhard Schröder - a pragmatist going after industrial heartland votes - than that of Lafontaine. Our guess is that Schulz will steer a centrist course, and hope to gain leverage over the CDU/CSU in coalition negotiations.

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  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • April 17, 2019
  • Why it is far from clear that the grand coalition will survive the year
  • Macron's chance and challenge
  • Eurozone firms' surprising response to sagging profits
  • The result of Spain's elections, a riddle wrapped in mystery
  • The MMT debate is coming to Europe - and Germany
  • Greek parliament seeks German war reparations
  • October 15, 2018
  • Black Brexit smoke
  • Bettel can relax and stay in office
  • Solving the crime vs solving the problem
  • April 16, 2018
  • Italy's and Germany's pained response to the Syria attacks
  • On the end of the eurozone's economic honeymoon
  • Why Bulgaria should stay out of the euro
  • Where shall we meet after Brexit?
  • October 16, 2017
  • What‘s the deep meaning of the elections in Lower Saxony?
  • Can Brexit be revoked?
  • Macron's grand narrative
  • April 19, 2017
  • Shadows of money
  • Breppe Grillo vs Eurointelligence
  • October 20, 2016
  • No games please, we are Europeans
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • July 16, 2019
  • What next, after EU sanctions Turkey?
  • What to make of Johnson’s four-point Brexit plan
  • Galileo fails, and nobody notices
  • March 04, 2019
  • Macron's two-month sprint
  • May's numbers are not there yet
  • Greening QE
  • On the "hope" of a rate raise
  • October 22, 2018
  • A week of intense political tension in the UK
  • Poland's local elections reveal deeply-split country
  • June 11, 2018
  • The end of the G7 - good riddance
  • Macron needs allies for his European agenda
  • Who is going to be the next director-general of the Italian treasury?
  • January 29, 2018
  • Where is the opposition in France?
  • Scenarios and risks for Syriza over Macedonia
  • September 21, 2017
  • Time to get serious about Brexit
  • Would the FDP claim the job of finance minister?
  • The return of the ultra-right to German politics
  • May 15, 2017
  • SPD and CDU disagree on how to respond to Macron
  • Was Rajoy blackmailed?
  • The rise of the re-leavers
  • January 05, 2017
  • French Socialist primaries - old wine in new bottles
  • Le Pen's hard ecu
  • Will Tusk get a second mandate?
  • Themes of 2017
  • August 30, 2016
  • Brexit facts on the ground
  • Burkinis and Republican primaries
  • The SPD and TTIP
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • September 17, 2019
  • Beware of the diplomacy of humiliation
  • Germany’s climate hypocrisy
  • August 05, 2019
  • No deal first, elections later
  • Free movement of labour? Not for politicians
  • Europe already lost the digital battle
  • June 24, 2019
  • Economic reform has torn up the SPD - climate policy does the same for the CDU/CSU
  • Not intruding, not really
  • May 13, 2019
  • Brexit Party has already changed UK politics
  • Orbán visits Trump, after a very long wait
  • Le Pen's appeal to the PiS likely to fall on deaf ears
  • April 02, 2019
  • Meaningless II
  • What will come out of the grand débat?
  • February 22, 2019
  • The maths of a Brexit deal
  • Does public protest crowd out of climate change?
  • January 16, 2019
  • And now think about this standoff from the perspective of the EU
  • What can the French learn from Brexit?
  • December 10, 2018
  • ECJ says UK free to revoke Article 50, even inside extension period
  • A turning point in Macron's presidency
  • China has added Portugal to the list of its key EU partners
  • Belgium's coalition implodes over Marrakesh pact
  • November 05, 2018
  • Macron trails behind Le Pen in European elections poll
  • How the CDU will organise leadership campaign
  • October 01, 2018
  • After the referendum, more turmoil in Macedonia
  • What will happen if the UK parliament votes No?
  • Barnier's no-thanks works much better than a yes-please
  • August 28, 2018
  • Urban politics and national crisis - the Irish case
  • How anti-semitism became one of the main issues in British politics
  • July 27, 2018
  • Be careful what you wish for - trade edition
  • A test of Pedro Sánchez' majority
  • June 25, 2018
  • Trump's car tariff to come early
  • On the lack of a sharp focus in the eurozone debate
  • May 23, 2018
  • Mattarella’s limited options
  • April 23, 2018
  • More bad news for the SPD
  • Will Theresa May accept a customs union? The Times says yes. We think so too.
  • A comeback for Marine Le Pen?
  • March 26, 2018
  • On the run no more
  • Terrorist attack will challenge Macron
  • A double-whammy of geopolitical and financial uncertainty
  • February 26, 2018
  • Angela Merkel's cabinet
  • January 30, 2018
  • Will Puigdemont be Catalan premier today?
  • Some thoughts about the German car industry
  • A short note on Italian coalition maths
  • January 05, 2018
  • Catalonia's government by Skype
  • The case for EEA membership
  • December 08, 2017
  • Schulz' Europe
  • November 15, 2017
  • A Christmas bonus for poor Greeks
  • Dim prospects of negotiated de-escalation on Catalonia
  • Macron's favourite to succeed Juncker - first round
  • On sovereignty
  • Gli Azzurri
  • October 24, 2017
  • Is Kaczynski tired of ruling behind the scenes?
  • An era of movements instead of parties?
  • On the decline of the traditional parties
  • October 02, 2017
  • Catalonia recalls EU and eurozone instability
  • French trade unions increase pressure over labour reforms
  • Watch out for a political accident in the UK
  • Municipal elections boost Portugal's Socialists
  • September 11, 2017
  • Turkey issues travel warning for visitors to Germany
  • How nasty is the AfD?
  • August 21, 2017
  • Soft, getting softer
  • Tsipras' chances of a boost
  • On the fallacy of a middle-ground option for the eurozone
  • July 21, 2017
  • Day of truth in EU-Turkey relationship coming closer
  • Germany’s over-dependence on diesel technology
  • July 03, 2017
  • Can Greece exit its programme without a credit line?
  • The softening Brexit
  • Macron's state of the nation address
  • June 15, 2017
  • The politics of Brexit
  • Assembly this week, senate in September?
  • Romanian government crisis refuses to go away
  • May 30, 2017
  • Beer tent politics - Merkel edition
  • Brexit arrives in UK elections
  • Rajoy clears budget hurdle
  • May 16, 2017
  • After the debacle
  • What is Ireland's role in the EU27?
  • On the EU’s Brexit negotiations
  • May 02, 2017
  • An accident waiting to happen
  • Matteo Renzi wins PD primaries
  • So much for the Schulz effect
  • April 19, 2017
  • Shadows of money
  • Breppe Grillo vs Eurointelligence
  • April 06, 2017
  • Could this be a turning point for Le Pen?
  • Three Brexit misunderstandings
  • Are the interests of Martin Schulz and Sigmar Gabriel really aligned?
  • March 27, 2017
  • Governing formation troubles - Northern Ireland edition
  • Did Trump present Merkel with a bill for Nato?
  • March 16, 2017
  • A Polish horror story
  • On the return of industrial policy
  • The limits of the multi-speed Europe
  • March 07, 2017
  • Dinner in Versailles
  • The shape of Brexit financial migration
  • February 27, 2017
  • May’s next gamble
  • Macron and the rise of the centre
  • Bite the bullet and get on with it
  • Who is the AfD?
  • February 20, 2017
  • SPD ahead of CDU/CSU
  • Fillon bounces back
  • The Brexit timetable
  • February 13, 2017
  • What decides the French elections: cult or programme?
  • Sense and nonsense on globalisation
  • Towards the next European crisis
  • February 09, 2017
  • The Lords have a choice - risk abolition or vote for Brexit
  • French secret service fears Russian support for FN
  • A whiff of revolution
  • Rajoy and Trump, best buddies
  • Violent fantasies around Catalonia
  • February 06, 2017
  • The Schulz effect, mark III
  • Germany's two asymmetric shocks
  • A Brexit conundrum - or not?
  • February 03, 2017
  • The Schulz effect is getting huge
  • The post-Brexit boom goes on and on and on
  • A correction on Catalonia
  • February 02, 2017
  • Will it come to the use of force in Catalonia?
  • The day Brexit became irreversible
  • Can Trump and May succeed?