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    Right-wing Les Republicains (LR) party's candidate for the party's primary ahead of the 2017 presidential election, Francois Fillon (File)

    Fillon Won Primaries Due to Opposition to Gay Marriage Law - Senator

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    Former Prime Minister Francois Fillon won the French conservative party primaries thanks to the support of opponents of the "Marriage for All" law that legalized gay marriage in the country in 2013, French senator Yves Pozzo di Borgo told Sputnik.

    LIMA (Sputnik) — On Sunday, Fillon surprisingly came first in the race for The Republicans party's nominee for the presidential election, leaving behind former Prime Minister Alain Juppe and ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy. No candidate obtained at least 50 percent of the vote. Fillon and Juppe will compete in the conservative run-off on Sunday. The winner will face far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the presidential election in spring 2017.

    "Fillon… greatly benefited from the current protest against 'Marriage for All.' More than 2 million people do not support 'Marriage for All.' Fillon was strongly against the law. These 2 million of people chose Fillon as a candidate. Their ballots played an important role as some 4 million of the French voted on the conservative primaries on Sunday," Pozzo di Borgo said.

    He also explained Fillon's victory by disappointment and frustration among the Frenchmen with such "old political figures" as Sarkozy.

    When asked who may have better chances against Marine Le Pen, the senator pointed out that Fillon, 62, is almost ten years younger than Juppe and thus has better chances to defeat Le Pen if they meet in the presidential runoff.

    "Fillon is younger, more energetic and he is better positioned now but it is still six months before the presidential elections in May," he said.

    The senator expressed his support for Fillon's stance on relations with Russia.

    "He wants to get closer with Russia and remove sanctions against It. I support that," he said.

    In October, about 24,000 activists took to the streets of Paris to protest against gay marriage in France.

    Same-sex marriage is legal in seventeen countries worldwide, including nine in the European Union. Thirteen EU countries recognize some form of civil unions for same-sex couples.

    Related:

    Former French PM Fillon Secures Victory in Republican Presidential Primaries
    Francois Fillon Leading in French Center-Right Presidential Primaries
    French Ex-President d'Estaing Supports ex-PM Fillon at Center-Right Primaries
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