- Title: France's Juppe calls out Fillon on 'brutal' economic programme
- Date: 22nd November 2016
- Summary: TOULOUSE, FRANCE (NOVEMBER 22, 2016) (REUTERS) ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** VARIOUS OF FRENCH CENTRE-RIGHT PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY CANDIDATE FOR SECOND ROUND, ALAIN JUPPE, ARRIVING FOR RALLY WITH HIS WIFE, ISABELLE
- Embargoed: 7th December 2016 21:48
- Keywords: France election primary Alain Juppe Francois Fillon rally Russia
- Location: TOULOUSE, FRANCE
- City: TOULOUSE, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA00159J2NUV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Former French Prime Minister Alain Juppe, one of the two remaining candidates in the battle for the centre-right's presidential nomination, accused his rival Francois Fillon on Tuesday (November 22) of pushing a "brutal" economic programme that would break France.
Francois Fillon, who unexpectedly won the last vote by a wide margin against the then-favourite, Alain Juppe, were both known until now as mild-mannered former prime ministers.
On Monday (November 21), Juppe started the war of words by branding Fillon's conservative social views and reservations about abortion as "outdated" and said his free-market economic policies reflected "a great social brutality".
"I want deep reforms, credible and doable reforms without brutality. And I would like to point out three big differences with Francois Fillon's programme. Firstly, his economic programme seems badly researched to me, it will not hold and its brutality condemns it to failure," Juppe told a rally of approximately 2,000 supporters in Toulouse.
Juppe, 71, presents himself as a more modern centrist, able to win a majority of open-minded conservatives, centrists, undecided voters and even some left-wing voters.
Former president Nicolas Sarkozy, who came in third in the first round, has thrown his support behind Fillon.
Juppe also reacted to Fillon's remarks on Monday that Russia did not constitute a security threat, saying that France would have to engage in a dialogue with Russia over issues such as Ukraine and Syria but that Paris would have to remain faithful to its principles.
"We will have to build a collective pan-European security project with Russia, that goes without saying but dialogue with Russia won't be a "yes-man" game, it's about telling the truth," Juppe, who has also been foreign minister and defence minister, said.
With just six days to go before the second-round, Juppe has little time to turn the momentum around, but he is clearly banking on trying to appeal to undecided and left-wing voters who may be tempted to turn out in higher numbers to oppose Fillon's socially conservative and pro-business policies.
Andre, a Juppe supporter from Pau, said Juppe was the more rational of the two candidates.
"The programme is balanced, doable and could be successful. One mustn't be too extreme, too strong, too harsh because that wouldn't work," he said.
By paying two euros anyone can vote in the primaries, which are not restricted to members of the conservative Les Republicains party.
Whoever wins the candidacy is expected to beat far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen to the presidency.
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