>> A crucial task faces the winner, seeing off France's far right in next spring's presidential election. But it won't be Nicholas Sarkozy the populist former presidents comeback dreams in tatters. After losing Sunday's Republican primary.>> Nicholas Sarkozy went looking for votes in the waters of the Front National, France's far-right anti-establishment party.
In echoes of Donald Trump's US campaign, he made a raft of populist policy pledges to deal with issues such as immigration and security. He famously promised this summer for example to ban the bikini swimsuit on France's beaches. However his hardline policies, especially on the social front, looked to have alienated mainstream centrist and center-right voters.
Many of whom still recoil from the memory of Sarkozy's first presidency, when he's remembered for his abrasive personality and for his friendships with tycoons and celebrities. He had gambled on a mood shift in France that would be ready for these populist pledges of his, and for a Sarkozy comeback, in the end, it backfired.
And he has now bowed out of French political life.>> After his defeat, Sarkozy throwing his weight behind his former Prime Minister Francois Fillon, who unexpectedly sailed past another PM, Alain Juppe, into the second round. Initial polls have him winning next Sunday's contest. And going on to face Mary Le Pen, the steely far right leader in the first round of the presidential race next year.
Donald Trump's shock US win has boosted fears that Le Pen's Nationalist Front Party will ride the crest of the anti-establishment, anti-immigration wave.