An assertive Francois Fillon told French voters on Thursday that rival Alain Juppe ”does not really want to change things,” in a debate a flash poll showed Fillon winning with 71% of the votes, days before the conservatives decide which of the two candidates will run in the 2017 presidential election, according to Reuters.
”Alain Juppe does not really want to change things. He`s staying within the system, he just wants to improve it,” Fillon said in the televised debate on Thursday, Reuters reports. ”My project is more radical.”
The debate touched upon the issues of necessary reforms in France and the country`s foreign policy, in particular in relation to the Russian Federation, Deutsche Welle reports. While Juppe is inclined to mild ”non-brutal” reforms, standing in favor of maintaining sanctions against the Russian Federation, Fillon said that he would work on reducing unemployment and restoring the country`s potential via austerity measures.
He also called for the lifting of sanctions against Russia. According to Fillon, the sanctions policy of the West ”has failed”, bringing ”nothing but devastation to the European farmers.” He has also stressed he is ready to cooperate with Russia on Syria.
In turn, Juppe opposed rapprochement with Vladimir Putin, who ”can`t stop talking about the Cold War.” If Juppe won the election, further negotiations with the Russian Federation would insist on the implementation of the Minsk agreements and on the unacceptability of the annexation of the Crimea.
As UNIAN reported earlier, former Prime Minister of France Francois Fillon secured a sensational landslide victory in the first round of the presidential primaries of the French right-wing and centrist forces.