From the very first set of official results released at around 7.30pm GMT, François Fillon held a commanding lead in the rightwing primary – and he never showed the slightest sign of relinquishing it. About half an hour after those first results came out, Alain Juppé conceded, congratulating his rival on his victory.
With more than 95% of the polling stations having returned their results, Fillon holds 66.6% of the vote.
Congratulations were forthcoming from other members of France’s right wing as Fillon sought to unify his potential support to take on the left and the far-right alike. He said he wanted to change the country’s “software” during his campaign for the presidency.
Fillon is seen as a Thatcherite who has promised to shrink the French state. It is expected his campaign will focus on raising the retirement age to 65 and ending early pension rights for many in the state sector.
He is …