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Ex-president Sarkozy throws his weight behind Francois Fillon in upcoming election

April 18, 2017, 20:56 UTC+3 PARIS

Fillon and Sarkozy were rivals at the primaries in November 2016

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Nicolas Sarkozy

Nicolas Sarkozy

©  AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani

PARIS, April 18. /TASS/. France’s former President Nicolas Sarkozy has urged his fellow countrymen to vote for Francois Fillon in the first round of the presidential election due on Sunday.

"In a few days France will find itself at the crossroads, and everybody must be aware of this," Sarkozy said in a video address to the French voters. "I can say directly why I support Francois Fillon - he has experience, a program and a bid to implement it. This will make it possible to get closure on the outgoing five years [of Francois Hollande’s presidency] that have turned out to be catastrophic for France," he said.

Fillon and Sarkozy were rivals at the primaries of The Republicans in France last November. The former president was even seen as the favorite of the party vote, but the voters opted for Fillon, who was prime minister under President Sarkozy.

The first round of French elections will be held on April 23, and the second, after which the new head of state will be named, will take place on May 7.

Representatives of 11 political parties are running in the presidential race. Along with Fillon, the list of the frontrunners includes the National Front’s candidate, Marine Le Pen, founder of the En Marche! (On the Move) movement Emmanuel Macron, winner of the ruling Socialist Party’s presidential nomination, Benoit Hamon, and left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon.

Francois Hollande, the incumbent head of state, who has held this post since May 2012, refused to run for a new five-year term.

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