Fillon, formerly Sarkozy’s prime minister, took his former boss out of contention.
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Former Prime Minister Francois Fillon is favorite to become the French center-right's presidential candidate after a voting upset that puts him in pole position for a showdown with far right leader Marine Le Pen in next year's election.Former President Nicolas Sarkozy came third and, after being eliminated, endorsed Fillon for the second-round vote next Sunday.There is, though, no clear evidence Fillon would fare worse against her than would Juppe.A snap poll by Opinionway after Sunday's results showed Fillon winning the head-to-head contest against Juppe with 56 percent of support.It also raised questions over the accuracy of opinion polls, which were under scrutiny again Monday in France.With his socially conservative and pro-business policies, Fillon lacks the broad appeal of the more centrist Juppe, and so may increase Le Pen's chances of taking power.Fillon and Juppe have clashed most forcefully over Fillon's proposals to slash the cost of government, notably by axing 500,000 public sector jobs over five years.
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