Former Prime Minister, Francois Fillon has won France’s conservative presidential primary, defeating opponent Alain Juppe by a landslide.
He will be up against National Front leader Marine Le Pen in the final presidential race, scheduled to be held in 2017. His vote count amounted to about 69.5% in comparison to Juppe’s 30.5%.
While Fillon’s political campaign mainly revolved around the promise of radical economic reforms, Juppe was more on the moderate side and warned of encroaching populism.
Some campaign promises made by Fillon
• Cutting down on public spending
• Reduce immigration to a minimum
• Support for traditional family values
• Friendlier ties with Russia and its President- Vladimir Putin
While Juppe’s ideology was more or less similar to that of Fillon’s when it came to the country’s economy like reducing the number of civil servants, raising the retirement age from 62 to 65 and ending the 35-hour work week, his ideology towards Russia was completely different, as he felt instead of extending a friendly hand, France should put more pressure on Putin.
Juppe also had a more tolerant attitude towards the country’s ethnic, religious and social diversity, which probably played a major role in making him the initial favourite in the race. However, he lost out when there was an unexpected surge in Fillon’s supporters in the last few weeks.
For Fillon, his toughest challenge still remains, as his opponent, Le Pen is running an anti-establishment campaign targeting mainly immigrants, France’s large Muslim minority and the European Union. Current President Francois Hollande is also yet to announce whether or not he will be running in the race next year.
However, as far as the polls go, 62-year-old Fillon, who served as the Prime Minister of France from 2007- 2012, has an incredibly good chance of winning the presidential elections.