Additional blow to the former French leader, as French journalists put it, was a presence at the meeting of famous actor Alain Delon, who in the past was actively supporting Sarkozy.
"We don't want a president who flirts each morning with the extreme-right. France doesn't need mini-Trump at Elysee Palace," President of UDI Jean-Christophe Lagarde told a gathering of Juppe's supporters, comparing Sarkozy, well-known for his harsh stance on Muslims and migrants, both with newly elected president Donald Trump and the French right-wing National Front's leader Marine Le Pen.
With both Juppe and Sarkozy campaigning on almost similar platforms of cutting taxes and generally easing labor laws, the campaign is focused more on the personalities and their credibility.
"Sarkozy is very Bonapartist and Juppe is more centrist," member of the French Senate from UDI Yves Pozzo di Borgo told Sputnik on Tuesday, adding that former president — once nicknamed the "hyper-president" for his kinetic style — antagonized many by his strong wording and the way of speaking, while Juppe doesn't scare even left-wing voters.
As Socialist voters doubt their party candidate (the exact name will be known upon Socialists' primaries in January next year) to make it to the second round of the presidential election next year, according to research by Sciences Po’s Center for Political Research (Cevipof), the winner of the Republican vote will face Marine Le Pen in the runoff, thus making the primary almost as important as the election itself.
He mentioned that during the last week former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, the third man in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, has dramatically improved his rating by 7-10 percent, according to different polls, enjoying support of about 20 percent of the Republicans voters.
"It is possible," UDI senator told Sputnik asked about Fillon's chances to win primaries, adding that it was the first time in history that France organized party primaries, so that nothing is written in advance.
"We need to wait, polls can't be fully relied on – nobody believed in Trump," Pozzo di Borgo stated, referring to the recent victory by Donald Trump in the United States contrary to all polls predictions.
Prior to the first round of the Republicans vote candidates will hold the third TV debates on November 17.