Francois Fillon easily wins France's conservative presidential nomination

Francois Fillon wins France Republican party presidential primary
(Image credit: Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images)

In Sunday's runoff election to determine the conservative candidate who will stand in France's upcoming presidential election, hard-line conservative former Prime Minister Francois Fillon handily beat the more moderate Bordeaux Mayor Alain Juppé, also a former prime minister. Fillon had been expected to win France's Republican nomination after getting nearly half the votes in last week's first round, which knocked out former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and Juppé conceded defeat Sunday night, congratulating Fillon on his "wide victory" and promised to support him in the April-May general election. With almost all votes counted, Fillon was leading, 66.5 percent to 33.5 percent.

Fillon, who served as prime minister under Sarkozy, has proposed ending France's 35-hour work week, raising its retirement age, cutting 500,000 public-sector jobs, eliminating the wealth tax, and improving ties with Russia. On Sunday night he said that if French voters pick him, he "will take up an unusual challenge" for France: "To tell the truth and completely change its software." Fillon, 62, will likely face far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen, centrist independent Emmanuel Macron, and the nominee of the Socialist party. President Francois Hollande, who is highly unpopular, is expected to announce whether he will seek another term within the next few days.

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