France's Fillon makes patriotic pitch for final votes

Francois Fillon gave an assured performance in a televised debate on November 24, 2016Conservative presidential frontrunner Francois Fillon drew cheers for his uncompromising views on Islam and French identity at a final rally in Paris Friday ahead of a primary vote this weekend to choose the Republicans party candidate. Fillon’s surge has taken commentators and pollsters by surprise and he will go head-to-head with his centrist rival Alain Juppe in Sunday’s vote when millions will pick the party’s candidate for next year’s presidential election. Speaking in front of a flag-waving crowd of thousands, Fillon drew applause for his plans for radical economic reform and cheers when he strayed onto questions of French identity and Islam.

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