France’s opposition set to lurch toward far right by electing new leader


France’s bitterly divided conservative opposition party is expected to elect a new hardline leader on Sunday marking a move away from centre ground toward the territory of the far right. Barring a last minute disaster, Laurent Wauquiez will take control of Les Républicains (LR) party after its disastrous performance in the presidential election earlier this year when its candidate, François Fillon, failed to make it into the second round vote.Wauquiez has run a hawkish leadership campaign running on an anti-immigration, anti-welfare programme and has worried some party heavyweights with his possible “porosity” to far-right Front National ideas. He refused to call supporters to back Emmanuel Macron against the FN’s leader, Marine Le Pen, in the second round of the presidential vote in May. The electronic vote is open to nearly 235,000 party members. There are two other largely unknown candidates, but members are expected to give Wauquiez, 42, a clear victory, making a second round vote unnecessary.(theguardian)…[+]