Keyword: François Fillon

François Fillon wins sweeping victory to become conservative candidate in French presidential election

Crushing win: former prime minister François Fillon will be the Right's candidate in next year's presidential election. Crushing win: former prime minister François Fillon will be the Right's candidate in next year's presidential election.

François Fillon will be the conservative candidate in the 2017 presidential election after a crushing victory over his rival Alain Juppé in this Sunday's primary election run-off. With most of the votes declared, the former prime minister has picked up two-thirds of the vote. This emphatic win on the back of a turnout of well over four million voters will give Fillon a huge springboard for next spring's presidential elections. For months Fillon languished in the polls, far behind his former boss Nicolas Sarkozy and the pollsters' favourite Juppé, the 71-year-old mayor of Bordeaux. But in the final days before last week's first round in the primary Fillon's support suddenly surged and he won that contest with more than 44% of the vote. This Sunday's stunning victory has confirmed that surge. In his victory speech Fillon said: “If in 2017 we take things firmly in hand then our country will go far, for nothing can get in the way of a people who want to take their future in their hands.” But the 62-year-old faces tough questions ahead about his radical programme for government. These will likely focus on three main areas: his social conservatism, his economic liberalism – including his plan to axe half a million public sector posts – and his foreign policy and in particular his desire for closer relations with Russia. Nonetheless Fillon now stands a good chance of being France's next head of state, given the splits and divisions on the Left and the unlikelihood that France will ultimately vote for the far-right Front National's Marine Le Pen to be President of the Republic next May. Follow the results and reactions in this crucial primary election here.

France votes for centre-right candidate - and perhaps next president

Opinion polls show François Fillon, a social conservative, as the clear favourite after he easily eclipsed his centrist rival Alain Juppé last week.

Fillon attacks 'Paris elite' before second-round primary vote

Right-wing ex-PM who came from behind and is now favourite to win on Sunday dismisses ‘tiny microcosm who think they know everything'.

French Right rivals spar over multiculturalism in key TV debate

Alain Juppé and François Fillon also clashed over labour laws in live debate, three days ahead of the conservative presidential primary run-off.

Poll puts Fillon ahead in French Right's primary election

Poll suggests former premier François Fillon will win Sunday's second round contest with 65 percent of votes against 35 percent for Alain Juppé.

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

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François Fillon is favourite to be the Right's presidential candidate. © Reuters François Fillon is favourite to be the Right's presidential candidate. © Reuters

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.

France's Francois Fillon under fire over women's rights

His rival in Right's presidential primary, Alain Juppé, has urged Fillon to 'clarify his position' on abortion ahead of Sunday's decisive poll.

Fillon calls for 'transformation' after first-round win

Ex-PM sets out plans, including cutting 500,000 public sector jobs, before runoff with Alain Juppé to be centre-right’s presidential candidate.

Juppé v Fillon: the battle of France's conservatives

Race to be Right's candidate for president now between two ex-prime ministers who both want big public sector cuts and business incentives.

The underdog who may now win French presidential election race

Former French prime minister François Fillon, previously trailing in the conservative opposition party's primaries to elect it candidate for presidential elections next spring, has suddenly taken a neck-and-neck position against his two main rivals, Nicolas Sarkozy and Alain Juppé, before voting begins on Sunday.

French conservative primaries still wide open

The main conservative opposition party's primaries to choose its candidate for the 2017 presidential elections, which begin Sunday evening amid more than usual interest because of the liklihood that the person chosen will reach the decisive second round next spring, is now a tight three-horse race.

Russia and France's Right

For the first time since the end of the Cold War, argues Foreign Affairs magazine, Russia is a hot topic in the French presidential campaign.

Sarkozy's former allies openly turn on their old boss

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Under fire: Nicolas Sarkozy in Calais, September 21, 2016. © Reuters Under fire: Nicolas Sarkozy in Calais, September 21, 2016. © Reuters

For a long time Nicolas Sarkozy's former allies avoided personal attacks on the former president, even after they had become his political adversaries in the contest to choose the Right's presidential candidate for 2017. Now, however, the gloves are off and some on the Right are openly talking about the string of political and financial scandals in which the ex-president is currently embroiled. For the first time, report Ellen Salvi and Mathilde Mathieu, Sarkozy now looks politically vulnerable to the sheer weight of the scandals and criticism bearing down on him.

The staggering perks paid to France's former presidents and prime ministers

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France's three surviving presidents (left to right): Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac. © Reuters France's three surviving presidents (left to right): Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac. © Reuters

Mediapart has gained access to a detailed account of the annual payments made to former French presidents and prime ministers in a lifelong system of perks and privileges that beggars belief. With items ranging from newspaper and dry-cleaning costs to the payment of staff, offices and vehicles, the country’s three surviving former heads of state cost the taxpayer a yearly 6.2 million euros. Former prime ministers, meanwhile, receive tens of thousands of euros annually for staff and vehicles, including one who left office 25 years ago. Mathilde Mathieu reports.

Nicolas Sarkozy unites the French Right – against him

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The end of the regional elections in France last weekend was the starting gun for another contest – to choose the Right's candidate for the next presidential election. Already, ahead of this primary scheduled for the autumn of 2016, two clear ideological lines have emerged as have a host of competing candidates. Just one factor seems to unite them all and that is hostility towards their own leader, Nicolas Sarkozy, who is widely blamed for assisting the rise of the far-right Front National. Ellen Salvi reports.