15:18 GMT +323 January 2020
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    France’s former president Nicolas Sarkozy congratulated Francois Fillon on Sunday on winning the nomination of The Republicans party.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Fillon is in the lead with 68.4 percent of votes after the Sunday primary. In the presidential run he is expected to face far-right Front National's Marine Le Pen and a nominee of the ruling Socialist Party, who will be picked in January.

    "I want to convey my sincere congratulations to Francois Fillon on his victory tonight and wish him luck in the upcoming political battle," Hollande wrote in a statement.

    He praised Fillon’s challenger Alain Juppe for defending his ideas but added the moment has come for the center-right party to rally around Fillon to "guarantee a change that France needs more than ever in 2017."

    The French presidential elections will take place in April and May 2017.

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    Tags:
    primaries, win, congratulations, nomination, Alain Juppe, Nicolas Sarkozy, Francois Fillon, France
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