1. France: Francois Fillon declares victory in presidential primary

France: Francois Fillon declares victory in presidential primary

Former Prime Minister Francois Fillon has declared victory in France’s first-ever conservative presidential primary, beating a more moderate rival who had warned of encroaching populism. Fillon enjoyed a surprise surge in popularity in recent weeks over longtime favorite Alain Juppe, also a former prime minister. Fillon campaigned on promises of drastic free-market reforms, a hard […]

By: | Paris | Published: November 28, 2016 5:41 AM
A 62-year-old racing car enthusiast who lives in a Loire valley chateau, Francois Fillon promises radical reforms to France's regulation-encumbered economy, vowing to roll back the state and slash government's bloated costs. (AP/PTI) A 62-year-old racing car enthusiast who lives in a Loire valley chateau, Francois Fillon promises radical reforms to France’s regulation-encumbered economy, vowing to roll back the state and slash government’s bloated costs. (AP/PTI)

Former Prime Minister Francois Fillon has declared victory in France’s first-ever conservative presidential primary, beating a more moderate rival who had warned of encroaching populism.

Fillon enjoyed a surprise surge in popularity in recent weeks over longtime favorite Alain Juppe, also a former prime minister.

Fillon campaigned on promises of drastic free-market reforms, a hard line on immigration and Islam, support for traditional family values and friendlier ties with Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

In a victory speech following the primary’s runoff election Sunday, Fillon called for unity to defeat the far right and the discredited left.

Polls suggest the 62-year-old Fillon would have a high chance of winning the French presidency in the April-May election, and that his toughest challenge may come from far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

 

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