PARIS (Sputnik) — Former French president and candidate for center-right presidential nomination Nicolas Sarkozy conceded his defeat after coming third in The Republicans primaries on Sunday.
"I congratulate Francois Fillon and Alain Juppe on advancing to the second round. They are very worthy people who the French center-right should be proud of," Sarkozy said in a statement.
The newest results of Sunday’s primaries show Francois Fillon in the lead with 44 percent of votes, followed by Alain Juppe with 28.1 percent. Sarkozy came third with 21.1 percent of votes. A total of 3.2 million cast their ballots.
"Francois Fillon’s political standing is closer to me … Therefore I will vote for him in the second round of primaries," he said.
Next week’s runoff will pit the top two contenders for the party’s nomination. The winner will face far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the presidential election in spring 2017.