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François Fillon Raising the Bar, Preparing to Take over French Presidency - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Paris- The little-known conservative, dubbed “Mr. Nobody,” François Fillon shocked the French establishment with him likely winning the next center-right nomination and possibly the presidency in the 2017 elections.

The second-round of the Socialist Republican primary will open polls on Sunday, announcing the official nominee later that evening—odds are high in favor of French Prime Minister Fillon, Le Monde’s “Mr. Nobody.”

It would seem that only a miracle can keep Fillon from nomination, given that he already registered a sweeping 44 percent of turnout in the first round-primary, whilst his closest competition Alain Juppé, received 28 percent of Republican votes.

It’s worth noting that the Republican former President Nicolas Sarkozy, had overturned all hopes of a second presidency by exiting the race after not being able to secure enough votes to move for the second-round primary.

Surprisingly, Fillon is now most likely to represent the socialist bloc and possibly become France’s eighth president of the Fifth Republic.

Only a month ago no one would have seen it coming for Fillon, who served as Prime Minister of France from May 17, 2007 to May 16, 2012 after being appointed by Sarkozy, to be at a swooping advantage for becoming France’s next executive head of state.

Fillon fought a fierce political campaign against seven noteworthy center-right candidates such as his former boss Sarkozy, and former premier Juppé, who ex-President Jacques Chirac once labeled as the most witted within the French establishment.

Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire and Environment Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet are also both young and significant names who Fillon had to face off in his electoral campaign.

Perhaps the greatest competition registered among the two was the one led by Morizet, an ambitious woman who is fairly close to millennials and who ran a campaign headlining “defend the environment,” which is a very popular and heated cause for the French.

Fillon shattered all projections, and not only finished among the three final candidates in the primaries, but also had defeated Sarkozy in a historic payback. Sarkozy had once demoted Fillon’s public service and significance, by labeling him his personal assistant.

Fillon’s résumé goes far given that he served as the former prime minister for a United Nations Security Council member state.

Not only was he the ex-prime minister for a major power, but also to the world’s fifth largest economy. The former colonialist power is also home to one of today’s powerful nuclear weapons.

After Fillon’s dramatic advance, many media outlets that once overlooked the candidate have shifted the spotlight as droves of right and center-right politicians hurl to reconcile relations with the potential president.

Fillon’s support goes beyond the French spectrum reaching to superpower leader and controversial authoritarian Vladimir Putin, who personally tapped into Fillon’s presidency campaign endorsing him a few days before the second-round primary.

Putin and Fillon shared posts as state premiers between 2007-2012.

Socially, Fillon, 62, appeals to France’s traditionally conservative Catholic base—his public service goes even further beyond, he became Jean- Pierre Raffarin’s Minister of Labor in 2002 and undertook controversial reforms of the 35-hour working week law and of the French retirement system. Fillon became Minister of National Education in 2004 and proposed the much debated Fillon law on Education.

Fillon received a Baccalauréat in 1972. He then studied at the University of Maine in Le Mans where he received a Master’s degree in Public Law in 1976. He did additional studies at Paris Descartes University earning the Master of Advanced Studies in Public Law.