French conservatives have chosen Francois Fillon as a presidential candidate. Fillon easily defeated mayor of Bordeaux Alain Juppe during the elections on Sunday, with about 66% of the vote.
"Victory is mine. Essentially a victory based on the conviction," said Fillon, as he spoke to supporters after the victory. "We have all the assets to become a modern, sovereign state of leadership in Europe."
Fillon may face the leaders of the far right National front party of marine Le Pen in the final round of the presidential elections next spring, because voters want to expel the Socialist party that ruled in France in 2012 under the leadership of President Francois Hollande, whose popularity is fading.
"Last term was a pathetic," said Fillon, criticizing Hollande. "Time to end this and start to move forward, as we did for 30 years."
Fillon is sometimes called the "French Thatcher" for his obvious admiration for the former leader of Britain. Fillon is a social conservative who talked about the termination of the celebrated 35-hour working week in France and harsh environments with the powerful trade unions of the country. He also talked about the reduction of public spending, the abolition of wealth tax, reducing immigration and the investment of billions in the area of security, defence and justice.
Hard line on immigration has strengthened the position of Le Pen, whose anti-EU position is becoming increasingly popular among French voters. In an interview with CNN last week, she said she felt encouraged by the unexpected victory of Donald trump in the United States.
"It forces the French to understand what people want, they can get if they are mobilized," she said.
62-year-old Fillon is a lawyer, who served as Prime Minister between 2007 and 2012 during the rule of Sarkozy.
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