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France presidential race: Fillon wins conservative candidacy

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Paris: Francois Fillon is to be the conservative candidate in 2017 French presidential election after his rival Alain Juppe admitted defeat.

With virtually all the results counted, Fillon won Sunday’s run-off with nearly 67 per cent of the vote against his moderate rival Alain Juppe who collected 32.6 per cent, BBC reported.

“It is a fundamental victory built on convictions. Progressively, I felt this wave broke all the written scenarios in advance. My approach was understood,” Xinhua news agency quoted Fillon as telling supporters.

“The future is ahead of us. We have all the assets to be a sovereign nation, to lead Europe. Now, I have the duty to convince the whole country that our project is the only one that can lift us up,” he added.

Fillon promised to build a fairer society, saying France wants “truth and it wants action”.

He is likely to face a Socialist candidate and the far-right’s Marine Le Pen in next April’s election.

Juppe, the more moderate candidate, congratulated Fillon on his “large victory” and pledged to support him in his bid to become President.

“I support him and I wish him good luck for his presidential campaign and the victory in May,” Xinhua news agency quoted him as telling his supporters after results were released.

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