TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Francois Fillon managed to win France's first-ever conservative presidential primary on Sunday, November 27, 2016, after promising drastic free-market reforms and a crackdown on immigration and Islamic extremism, beating a more moderate rival who had warned of encroaching populism, according to the Associated Press report.
"President! President!" chanted the former prime minister's supporters as he declared victory over Alain Juppe in a nationwide runoff election.
Polls suggest the sober, authoritative Fillon, 62, have a strong chance of winning the French presidency in the election scheduled to take place on April-May.
Fillon, who was serving as the country’s prime minister from 2007 until 2012 under former President Nicolas Sarkozy, experienced an unforeseen surge of popularity in recent weeks. A rise in nationalist sentiment across Europe may have favored his strict conservative positions over Juppe's more centrist stance.
France needs "a complete change of software," Fillon said, promising in his victory speech to defend "French values."
Some of Fillon’s promises include slash public spending, cap immigration, support traditional family values and reach out to Russian President Vladimir Putin.