Re­formist Fil­lon wins French pres­i­den­tial pri­mary

The Myanmar Times - - World -

FRAN­COIS Fil­lon, a con­ser­va­tive re­formist promis­ing to shrink the French state, clinched the rightwing nom­i­na­tion for next year’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion with a re­sound­ing vic­tory over his ri­val Alain Juppe.

Ex-prime min­is­ter Mr Fil­lon will now be­come a favourite to be France’s next leader af­ter win­ning the US-style pri­mary to pick the nom­i­nee of the Repub­li­cans party and its al­lies.

Near-com­plete re­sults showed him win­ning 66.5 per­cent of the vote, with bal­lots counted from 9915 polling sta­tions out of 10,229.

In a vic­tory speech, the 62-yearold am­a­teur rally driver said he had “torn up all the pre-writ­ten scripts” as he sped past his ri­vals in the last weeks of the cam­paign.

“France can no longer bear its de­cline. France wants the truth and France wants ac­tion,” he told cheer­ing sup­port­ers af­ter Mr Juppe, a cen­trist, con­ceded de­feat.

The French pres­i­den­tial vote is seen as a key test for main­stream po­lit­i­cal par­ties af­ter the suc­cess of Don­ald Trump and the Brexit cam­paign in Bri­tain, both of which har­nessed anti-elite anger.

Mr Fil­lon will face fierce com­pe­ti­tion in the two-round elec­tion in April and May from far-right leader Marine Le Pen, the anti­estab­lish­ment can­di­date hop­ing to em­u­late Mr Trump’s shock vic­tory in the US.

Two sur­veys put Mr Fil­lon ahead of Ms Le Pen in the first round of the elec­tion, with the left­wing can­di­dates trail­ing fur­ther be­hind.

Promis­ing to be the can­di­date of “all those who are proud to be French,” he pledged to turn the page on a “pa­thetic” So­cial­ist pres­i­dency.

Turnout stood at around four mil­lion, roughly the same as in the first round of vot­ing a week ago when Mr Fil­lon came from be­hind to lead a field of seven can­di­dates.

The prime min­is­ter from 200712 has warned France is “on the verge of re­volt” and be­lieves his plan to slash 500,000 pub­lic sec­tor jobs and in­crease work­ing hours is the tonic needed to kick­start the econ­omy.

The de­vout Catholic has also taken a hard line on im­mi­gra­tion and Is­lam in France, telling new­com­ers to the coun­try that “when you en­ter some­one else’s house you do not take over”.

Con­ced­ing de­feat and end­ing his dream of be­com­ing pres­i­dent, Mr Juppe wished Mr Fil­lon “good luck” in his bid to take back the Elysee Palace from the rul­ing So­cial­ists. – TURK­ISH po­lice de­tained a woman ac­cused of be­ing a wanted Kur­dish mil­i­tant at Is­tan­bul’s main air­port, state me­dia said.

Sara Ak­tas was de­tained at Ataturk In­ter­na­tional Air­port while seek­ing to travel to Ger­many.

She is ac­cused of be­ing a key fig­ure in the Kur­dis­tan Com­mu­ni­ties Union (KCK), which the au­thor­i­ties re­gard as the ur­ban wing of the out­lawed Kur­dis­tan Work­ers Party (PKK). She faces up to 15 years in jail on charges of mem­ber­ship of an armed “ter­ror” group.

Turk­ish au­thor­i­ties have stepped up ar­rests of ac­tivists, jour­nal­ists and even politi­cians sus­pected of links to the PKK in the wake of the July 15 failed coup.

Crit­ics say that the state of emer­gency im­ple­mented in the wake of the coup has gone well be­yond seek­ing to pun­ish the coup plot­ters them­selves.

MPs from the pro-Kur­dish Peo­ples’ Demo­cratic Party (HDP) strongly dis­puted the of­fi­cial ver­sion of events, say­ing that rather than be­ing a mem­ber of the KCK, Ms Ak­tas is part of the Kur­dish Free Women’s Congress (KJA).

The PKK has waged an in­sur­gency in­side Turkey since 1984 that has left tens of thou­sands dead. Vi­o­lence re­newed in July 2015 af­ter the col­lapse of a two-and-a-half-year cease­fire.

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