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    Russia Would See 'Peaceful, Constructive' Relations With France Under Fillon

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    Former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon's victory in the upcoming presidential election would mean a constructive relationship with Russia, Patrice Verchere, a National Assembly member, told Sputnik on Monday.

    LIMA (Sputnik) — On Sunday, Fillon surprisingly came first in the race to become The Republican (LR) party's nominee for the presidential election, leaving ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy and former Prime Minister Alain Juppe behind. No candidate obtained at least 50 percent of the vote. Sarkozy has conceded his defeat, while Fillon and Juppe will compete in the conservative run-off on November 27.

    "I would like to underline that with Francois Fillon we will find peaceful and constructive bilateral relations with Russia," Verchere, a member of Fillon's center-right party, said.

    He added that Fillon won the Republicans party primaries as a compromise figure between Sarkozy and Juppe.

    "I was not surprised when Fillon won the first round of primaries as many French on the ground spoke positively about Fillon with me. His impressive results and strong lead over his rivals is a mixture of anti-Sarkozy tactics but also a commitment to his style and political ideas which is a good compromise between Sarkozy and Juppe," Verchere said.

    The winning LR nominee would be likely to face National Front leader Marine Le Pen as the main contender in the general presidential election scheduled for April. The Socialist Party, which presided over deteriorating relations with Russia, has significantly lower voter support than its two main rivals, according to polls.

    France saw its relations with Russia sour in 2014 amid the conflict in Ukraine and the European bloc's anti-Russian sanctions. In April, the French National Assembly approved an LR-proposed resolution calling on the government to lift the sanctions.

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