28 Nov 2016

Francois Fillon to contest French presidential election

10:00 am on 28 November 2016

Francois Fillon is to be the conservative candidate in next year's French presidential election after his rival Alain Juppe conceded defeat.

Former French prime minister Francois Fillon.

Francois Fillon Photo: AFP

Mr Fillon was voted candidate for the centre-right Les Republicains party and is likely to face a Socialist candidate and the far-right's Marine Le Pen in the April 2017 election.

The former prime minister pledged to unite his camp behind a project to carry out deep reforms.

"My approach has been understood: France can't bear its decline. It wants truth and it wants action," Mr Fillon told supporters at his campaign headquarter.

"I will take up an unusual challenge for France: tell the truth and completely change its software," he said.

During his campaign the 62-year-old has proposed cuts in public spending, loosening restrictions on the length of the working week and raising the retirement age.

He is also a social conservative who wants to limit adoption rights of gay couples and he has called for warmer ties with Russia.

His main challenger Alain Juppe, the more moderate candidate and long been considered the favourite, congratulated Mr Fillon on his "large victory" and pledged his support.

The backdrop is a jobless rate of 10 percent, weak economic growth, concern about the survival of a costly but valued welfare state, worries about globalisation, immigration, security and the threat of further deadly attacks by Islamist militants.

- Reuters / BBC

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