France's 'Iron Man': economic plans of François Fillon


The frontrunner in the primary election to become the presidential candidate for the French Right and centre is a known admirer of Britain's late prime minister Margaret Thatcher, who was dubbed the “Iron Lady”. His economic plans include a strategic and immediate “shock” to the French system; the end of the 35-hour working week, abolition of the wealth tax, increasing the retirement age to 65 and reforming unemployment benefit and workplace rights. As Martine Orange reports ahead of Sunday's crucial second round contest, François Fillon plans to introduce these sweeping changes within the first two months if he becomes president – despite the risk that they would provoke a recession.

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For months François Fillon has been setting out what the first few months of his presidency would look like. Taking on the mantle of Thatcherism at a time when Britain itself has ditched that approach, the new favourite to be the 2017 presidential candidate of the French Right and centre aims to be France's own “Iron Man” and rapidly usher in his liberal economic revolution. As Fillon himself accepts, it is a strategy of “shock” - both technical and psychological.