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What France's Conservative Candidates Have Learned From Donald Trump's Win

"There will be a surprise."

Posted on November 10, 2016, at 6:49 a.m. ET

After Donald Trump was elected 45th president of the United States on Wednesday, most of France's conservative presidential candidates lauded Trump's win.

Mike Segar / Reuters

Members of France's far right party, the Front National, which has engaged in much of the populist rhetoric that swept Donald Trump to victory, treated Trump's victory as an extension of their own success.

"Their world collapses. Ours is built," the leader of the FN, Marine Le Pen, seen by many as the France's equivalent to Donald Trump, tweeted on Wednesday.

The Front National’s main competition during next year’s election is Les Républicains, which is France’s mainstream conservative party.

There are currently seven candidates running to become the nominee for the Républicains. BuzzFeed News spoke to campaign members for four of the candidates, asking them if Trump's win would have any effect on the way they are running their campaigns.

Eric Feferberg / AFP / Getty Images, Georges Gobet / AFP / Getty Images, Bertrand Langlois / AFP / Getty Images, Philippe Huguen / AFP / Getty Images

Benoist Apparu, spokesman for former French PM and Bordeaux Mayor Alain Juppé told BuzzFeed News that it would be morally wrong to change their message at this point.

Georges Gobet / AFP / Getty Images

"For us, it will not change anything. In substance, we will continue to try to reach the ‘intelligence’ of the people, to make them understand that the world is not as simple as one would have us believe,” Apparu said. “From a tactical point of view, Trump's victory changes nothing for us. Imagine Alain Juppé in Bordeaux tonight talking like in a Trump meeting. That would be ridiculous. There must be some consistency between what you do and what you say. So it would be morally wrong to change.”

Apparu said he believed that other candidate might use the Trump victory as an electoral argument. “But Nicolas Sarkozy can never present himself as an anti-system candidate,” he said.

Dawn Berge, member of the campaign team of Alain Juppé, said they had no plans of put forward messages that resembled Donald Trump's.

"There's a quality that has to be acknowledged in Donald Trump — that he told the truth. And this comforts us in our desire to be the most honest and clear-sighted as possible with the French people, whether in the diagnostics, reforms and methods we're proposing," Berge said.

Laure de La Raudière, spokesman for former agriculture minister and MP Bruno Le Maire, told BuzzFeed News that Trump's victory echoed their own campaign.

Bertrand Langlois / AFP / Getty Images

"Trump's victory clearly resonates with us," De La Raudière said. He said that he believes pollsters don't realize what's happening and that societies are rejecting "the establishment system."

"On the field, we do hear that the French people are fed up with constantly seeing the same faces, and this is what explains the rise of the FN party," he said. "There are lots of undecided voters. There will be a surprise on November 20."

"I fear that left-leaning 'bobos' will flock to the voting booths," Thierry Mariani, a supporter of former prime minister François Fillon told BuzzFeed News.

Bertrand Langlois / AFP / Getty Images

Mariani said the important lesson to be learned from Trump's victory was that polls can be wrong.

"François Fillon is leading the right kind of campaign: honest and reasonable. He's not proposing three times as many french fries in school cafeterias, or sleight of hand at each rally," he said. "On the other hand, what I fear is that Donald Trump's victory will bring out the left-wing 'bobo' electors to the voting booths of the right-wing primary. They'll be so scared of seeing Marine Le Pen elected after Brexit and Trump, they'll want to elect a more moderate candidate."

Valérie Debord, a supporter of Nicolas Sarkozy, says, "Sarkozy is not Trump."

Eric Feferberg / AFP / Getty Images

"We duly note Donald Trump's victory and the vote of the American people. But with this election, and after the votes in Greece and in the United Kingdom, we see a form of populism rising," she said. "So, it's important to provide a strong answer, to provide authority to answer to the concerns of the French people.

But Debord reiterated that Nicolas Sarkozy is not Donald Trump.

"He has a discourse of truth that makes him the best defense against the Front National party," she said.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.