Sunday, March 04, 2007
Phillipe de Villiers
I've covered some of the lesser known candidates of the left for the French Presidential Race, now let's look at a candidate from the right, extreme right....
Phillipe de Villiers or his full name, Phillipe Le Jolis de Villiers de Saintignon.
He was born March 25, 1949 in Boulogne to a family raised to the nobility in 1565. He is a member of the European Parliament and is a staunch traditionalist conservative Catholic who firmly opposes the European Union and is fiercely anti immigration.
In 1981, he resigned his post as a sub prefect rather than serve under Socialist President Mitterand. He served briefly from 1986-87 as junior Minister of Culture in Chiracs second government.
He leads his own Conservative party named the Mouvement pour la France, which has enjoyed some successes in the elections for the European Parliament. None the less, the parties membership has declined in the last 5 years. He was the first to use the phrase, "Polish Plumber" in referring to the loss of jobs to cheaper immigrant labor.
He launched his 2007 presidential bid and is using what he considers the rapid Islamization of France as his key issue. A poll in 2006 gave him a 37% approval rating as far as people saying they had a good opinion of him.
Because of his views on immigration and the effects of immigrant culture in France, his main rival is Jean-Marie LePen of the Front Mational and they are involved in a confrontation with LePen accusing de Villiers of stealing precious signatures away from mayors that should have gone to him. As usual, the fights are the loudest between rival far right groups.
He has a large family and promotes his fervent Catholic faith. His family has been connected with the radical conservative banned Catholic Cardinal LeFevre and the conservative Catholic Movement that clandestinely operates out of remote monasteries.
His brother is a lawyer who has defended Vichy government officials.
There has been scandal in his family, in 2006, his eldest son, Guillame was indicted for raping his younger brother, Laurent 15 years ago. de Villiers claims that this is a conspiracy against him for political reasons.
What will he accomplish in this election? Can he take votes from LePen? He is a boring, effete publiuc speaker and his charisma eludes me, perhaps he appeals to a conservative portion of the French who still believe in the nobility.