: :inin Kyiv (EET)

Fillon, Juppe kick off race for support for French presidential ticket

Francois Fillon heads into a runoff campaign for France`s conservative presidential ticket on Monday as favorite after winning the endorsement of ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy whom he ousted from the race after a stunning late surge in polls, according to Reuters.

Fillon is up against another former prime minister, Alain Juppe, who has a week to turn around his momentum-sapped campaign and win over the supporters of the other candidates, Reuters reports.

At stake is an almost certain place in the second round of next spring`s presidential election, pollsters say, with the French left in turmoil under the deeply unpopular President Francois Hollande. There the conservative challenger would in all likelihood face the leader of the resurgent far-right National Front party, Marine Le Pen.

”I believe more than ever that the people of France need to come together to turn the page of a disastrous five-year term that has demeaned our country and to block from power the National Front which would lead us into the worst of adventures,” a downcast-looking Juppe told his supporters.

A snap poll by Opinionway showed Fillon winning next Sunday`s head-to-head contest with 56% of support.


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