Former French prime minister Francois Fillon, a free marketeer who admired Margaret Thatcher and promised to cut a half-million public sector jobs, wins the conservative ticket for next year's French presidential election. Gavino Garay reports.
Former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon is the center-right's pick for next year's presidential election, after winning round two of a primary. Fillon campaigned on slashing public spending, raising the retirement age and scrapping the the 35-hour work week… policies many considered radical. In his victory speech, he pledged to unite conservatives around his bold reforms. (SOUNDBITE) (French) WINNING CANDIDATE IN FRENCH RIGHT'S PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY, FRANCOIS FILLON, SAYING: "Now my duty is to convince a whole country that our manifesto is the only one that can pull us back up." The moderate conservative candidate, Alain Juppe, conceded defeat Sunday night, saying he'll support Fillon against the nominees from the far right and the left. (SOUNDBITE) (French) MODERATE CANDIDATE ALAIN JUPPE SAYING: "I end this campaign as I started it: as a free man who did not compromise on who he is and what he thinks." Fillon polls favorably to win the election in May, with approval figures for President Francois Hollande at record lows. But first he'll have to battle Marie Le Pen, whose far-right party is increasingly popular.