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Alain Juppe, left behind, watches Francois Fillon leaving after the conservative presidential primary in Paris, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016. Fillon won France's first-ever conservative presidential primary after promising drastic free-market reforms and a crackdown on immigration and Islamic extremism, beating a more moderate rival who had warned of encroaching populism. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Francois Fillon won France's first conservative presidential primary


Francois Fillon won France's very first conservative  presidential primary Sunday, beating out his rival, Alain Juppe. 

The 62-year-old, who's been called the "French Thatcher" because of his admiration of Britain's former leader, campaigned on promises to slash public spending, crack down on immigration and abolish the country's wealth tax, among other things. 

No one should feel excluded from a society that I want to see more just and with more solidarity.
Francois Fillon

“France is curling up under a stifling regulatory and ideological blanket that the Socialist government has made worse," Fillon wrote in an autobiography published last year, according to Reuters

In his victory speech, Fillon promised to defend "French values." 

Based on results from approximately 88 polling stations, Fillon led with 67 percent of the vote as compared to Juppe's 33 percent. 

Now, Fillon is likely to face off against far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the presidential election next spring. Le Pen's campaign, which primarily targets immigrants and Muslims, has been gaining traction among French voters. 

Last week, Le Pen told CNN she was emboldened by President-elect Donald Trump's surprising victory. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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