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    French politician Francois Fillon, member of the conservative Les Republicains political party, delivers a speech at his campaign headquarters after partial results in the first round of the French center-right presidential primary election vote in Paris, France, November 20, 2016.

    France's Fillon Can Unite Right, Take Away Votes From Le Pen, Lawmaker Says

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    Former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon is the only right-wing candidate who is able to unite France's right-wing movement and to take away votes from the far-right National Front candidate Marine Le Pen in the general presidential election, French lawmaker Nicolas Dhuicq told Sputnik.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Sunday, Fillon surprisingly came first in the race to become The Republicans (LR) party's nominee for the presidential election, leaving ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy and former Prime Minister Alain Juppe behind.

    "Fillon has a reputation as a honest politician who sticks to his ideas and principles. He is the best right-wing nominee for the presidential race because he speaks to many French from different right-wing camps: Gaullists and more liberals. He is the only one who received votes of people who were leaning more towards the National Front," Dhuicq, a member of center-right the Republicans Party (LR), said.

    Recent polls suggested that Fillon, who, according to the latest results of the election won 44.1 percent of the votes, is likely to defeat Juppe, who gained 28.5 percent, in the conservative run-off on Saturday and face Le Pen in April 2017 general election. The ruling Socialist Party has significantly lower voter support than its two main rivals, according to the polls.

    "His program is attractive because Fillon is trying to be realistic. He reassures people that a role of a nation is at stakes, talks about national sovereignty and that is what people want to hear," Dhuicq said.

    The lawmaker stressed that Fillon attracts right-wing electorate due to his support of the national sovereignty, hardline approach to suspected Islamist radicals, advocating against gay marriage and for the rapprochement with Russia. The lawmaker also noted Fillon's economically liberal ideas speak to the small and medium businesses.


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