Fillon wins France's centre-right presidential nomination

France's conservative former Prime Minister has been selected as his party's candidate for next year's presidential elections.

François Fillon | Photo credit: Press Association

By Julie Levy-Abegnoli

28 Nov 2016

MEP reaction has been swift following François Fillon's victory in France's centre-right primaries, ahead of next year's presidential election.

Fillon, who served as Prime Minister of France from 2007 to 2012 beat his opponent, Alain Juppé - also a former Prime Minister - with 67 per cent of the vote.

The head of the European Parliament's centre-right EPP grouping, Manfred Weber tweeted his congratulations to Fillon, saying he was "looking forward to our cooperation. France must be in good hands again."

Fillon's victory in the primaries means he will also take the helm of the EPP affiliated Les Républicains party.

Fellow French EPP group member Alain Cadec, who chairs the assembly's fisheries committee, pointed out that eight months ago, Fillon was "far from being the favourite", adding, "only victory is beautiful."

The socially conservative Fillon surprised many when he topped the list in the first round of his party's primaries, after having trailed behind Juppé and former President Nicolas Sarkozy in the polls.

Françoise Grossetête, a Vice-Chair of Parliament's EPP group, said, "Our political family can be proud of this beautiful exercise in democracy. It gives great legitimacy to François Fillon."

However, Greens/EFA group MEP Yannick Jadot, his party's candidate in the French presidential elections, said he was worried about the consequences of Fillon's victory, because he "does not have a project for Europe and is complacent with Putin."

Fillon and Russian President Vladimir Putin are said to be on a first-name basis after having served as Prime Ministers at the same time.

Karima Delli, also a Greens MEP, accused Fillon of "defending yesterday's world, when we want to build tomorrow's world."

Fillon plans to cut 500,000 public sector jobs and has positioned himself as a defender of "French values".

He is now widely expected to face off against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in the second round of the elections, which will take place next May.

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