PARIS, , (Pakistan Point News - APP - 14th Nov, 2016 ) - Ex-British prime minister David Cameron used to get briefings on the price of milk to pop music to make him seem in touch with common voters. Could French politicians learn from him? After a major gaffe last month by a presidential candidate over the cost of a chocolate pastry, centre-right frontrunner Alain Juppe is the latest one in the firing line. Speaking over the weekend, the 71-year-old former prime minister referred to workers at a large chain of stores -- Prisunic -- that was taken over in 1997 by a rival and closed several years later.
Speaking Monday, he laughed off his "screw-up" and assured listeners of RTL radio that he did his own shopping, naming a string of the country's modern retailers. "If you like, we can go together, you'll see that I live in the real world and that I wait in the queue at the check-out," he said. Juppe currently leads polls on the centre-right and is forecast to clinch the nomination for the Republicans party in their Primary vote this month.
In the election next April and May, the Republicans will compete with a weakened Socialist party and Marine Le Pen, a self-styled "people's champion" from the resurgent far-right National Front (FN). Juppe's Republicans rival Jean-Francois Cope faced ridicule last month when he was asked the price of a pain au chocolat, a French breakfast staple, which he guessed at 10-15 centimes. In fact, the pastry costs about 10 times more at around 1.
20 Euros ($1.30). Earlier this year, another Republicans contender, ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, hit the headlines when he admitted to not knowing LeBonCoin, a widely used listings website to buy and sell second-hand items. To guard against being caught out by trick questions from journalists or seeming out of touch to the general public, privately educated Cameron used to have "cheat sheets" prepared from civil servants. They contained the price of food and drink items, as well as information about popular film and music, according to a former minister. This did not stop the former PM mixing up which football club he apparently supported, damaging his "everyman" credentials.