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The Republicans' French Presidential Hopeful Francois Fillon

© AP Photo / David VincentFrench conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon arrives at a campaign rally in Caen, north western France, Tuesday, March 16, 2017.
French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon arrives at a campaign rally in Caen, north western France, Tuesday, March 16, 2017. - Sputnik International
Francois Fillon, a French statesman, politician and former Prime Minister is the presidential candidate of the center-right party The Republicans; he hopes to garner enough support in the polls on Sunday to proceed to the second round of elections.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Fillon was born on March 4, 1954 in Le Mans, now the capital of the Sarthe Department.

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His father was a professional civil law notary, and his mother, who had Basque roots, was a well-known historian.

Fillon received an impressive education, earning a Master of Advanced Studies in Public Law from Paris Descartes University and a degree in political science from the University of Maine in Sarthe.

In his younger days, Fillon dreamed of becoming a journalist and even went on to complete a three-year advanced-training course at AFP before opting for a career in politics.

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In 1976, he became an assistant to Member of Parliament Joel Le Theule. Between 1978-1980, he served as deputy chief of staff for the minister of transportation, and later as deputy chief of staff for the minister of defense.

Fillon often combined various positions at central and local legislative and executive agencies, and he also held a number of positions at the party administration. Between 1981-1992, he served as vice president of the General Council of the Sarthe Department. In 1982, he headed the service of legislative and parliamentary work of the minister of industry.

In 1981, Fillon was elected as a member of the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, for the first time, becoming the youngest member of parliament at the age of 27. He was also re-elected to the parliament in 1986, 1988, 1993, 1997 and 2002. He headed the parliamentary commission on defense from 1986 to 1988.

Between 1983-2001, Fillion was the municipal counselor (mayor) of the Sable-sur-Sarthe Commune. Between 1992-1998, he headed the General Council of the Sarthe Department.

Between 1993-1995, he served as the minister of higher education and research under Prime Minister Edouard Balladur.

From May to November 1995, he served as the minister of information technologies and posts. From November 1995 through June 1997, he held the position of the minister responsible for posts, telecommunications and space under Prime Minister Alain Juppe.

In 1997, he became the secretary for trade union affairs at the political party Rally for the Republic.

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Between 1998-2002, Fillon was the president of the Regional Council of Pays-de-la-Loire and also its vice president in 2002-2004.

Between 2002-2004, Fillon served as the minister of social affairs, labor and solidarity under Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin. From March to November 2004, he was the minister of national education, higher education and research.

In 2005, Fillon was elected to the Senate, the upper house of parliament, from the Sarthe Department. He became political adviser to Nicolas Sarkozy after the latter officially joined the presidential election race.

Between 2007-2012, Fillon served as the prime minister of France under President Sarkozy.

Fillon became the second longest-serving prime minister of the Fifth Republic after Georges Pompidou. He was also the only one to retain this position during the French president’s full tenure.

In June 2012, Fillon was elected a National Assembly member from Paris.

On November 27, 2016, Fillon won the primaries of rightist and centrist parties and became a French presidential candidate.

In 1980, Fillon married Penelope Clark, a native of Wales. They have a daughter and four sons.

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