Valérie Pécresse: Part-Thatcher, part-Merkel and wants to run France - by Lucy Williamson BBC Paris
France's traditional right-wing Republicans party is preparing to fight for its life in the presidential election next spring. Its surprise choice of Valérie Pécresse as candidate has boosted the party, with a new opinion poll suggesting she could beat Emmanuel Macron to become France's first female president.
You know you're making headway as a female politician when people start analysing your clothes.
For Valérie Pécresse, it began with a red jacket, worn for her victory speech after winning the nomination for Les Républicains.
One daily newspaper even asked fashion historians to decrypt it.
"This red jacket was chosen to distinguish her from the crowd," one said. "It's the colour of power."
Another described it as evoking "warrior spirit [and] blood".
Just a few days later, a poll by Elabe suggested that, if the election were held today, Valérie Pécresse would beat President Macron in a run-off vote by 52% to 48%.
That's encouraging news for a party that's been out of power for nine years, eaten away from one side by Mr Macron and from the other by France's far-right leader, Marine Le Pen.
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