- Title: France’s Fillon jokingly plays up to Thatcher comparison
- Date: 22nd November 2016
- Summary: ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** FILLON PLAYING WITH HIS HAIR AFTER BEING ASKED BY JOURNALIST IF HE SAW THE FRONT PAGE OF THE NEWSPAPER VARIOUS OF FRENCH POLICE OUTSIDE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE VARIOUS OF FILLON ARRIVING, SURROUNDED BY JOURNALISTS FILLON ADDRESSING CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (French) CENTRE-RIGHT PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY CANDIDATE FOR SECOND ROUND, FRANCOIS FILLON, SAYING: "I see very well the many attacks and caricatures. After having called me an ultra-liberal, I am now depicted as a reactionary from the Middle Ages. All this is ultra-grotesque and ultra-ridiculous." AUDIENCE LISTENING TO FILLON PEOPLE GATHERED AT MEETING (SOUNDBITE) (English) CENTRE-RIGHT "LES REPUBLICAINS" PARTY MEMBER AND MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, PIERRE LELLOUCHE, SAYING: "The only way we are going to fix the problems of the country is to do what every other nation in Europe has done, which is a massive overhaul of our social and economic system. The Germans have done it, the British have done it, Italians are doing it, Spaniards have done it. Apparently only in France it's impossible, and anybody that says contrary is caricatured." PEOPLE GATHERED (SOUNDBITE) (English) CENTRE-RIGHT "LES REPUBLICAINS" PARTY MEMBER AND MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, JACQUES MYARD, SAYING: "You should go slowly but surely towards a direction. The direction should be reforms, the direction should be that you cut in expenses, and we have too many civil servants in France, this is true. But to achieve this aim, you have to invest and you have to prove that when you have growth those who are going to leave, for instance the civil service, or those who are unemployed will find a job, because growth is starting again." EXTERIOR OF FRENCH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY FRENCH FLAG
- Embargoed: 7th December 2016 14:03
- Keywords: Francois Fillon election voting Margaret Thatcher Alain Juppe
- Location: PARIS, FRANCE
- City: PARIS, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA00259J1YKN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Leading candidate in France's right-centre presidential primaries, Francois Fillon, on Tuesday (November 22) jokingly played up to a comparison made in French newspaper "Liberation" between him and late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
A social conservative with economically liberal ideas who admires Thatcher, Fillon, 62 was portrayed on the front cover of the newspaper in a photoshopped image, merging his face with her trademark hairdo.
The former French prime minister played with his hair when asked by a reporter if he had seen the front page of the newspaper.
"I see very well the many attacks and caricatures. After having called me an ultra-liberal, I am now depicted as a reactionary from the Middle Ages. All this is ultra-grotesque and ultra-ridiculous," Fillon said.
Fillon secured 44 percent of the votes in Sunday's (November 20) first round of voting for the centre-right nomination, with many see him as being in pole position for a showdown with far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the election next spring.
He will face fellow former Prime Minister Alain Juppe in a runoff vote on November 27 for the conservative ticket.
Fillon's plans for market-oriented reforms - including scrapping the 35-hour working week and raising the retirement age - go beyond what his challenger Juppe advocates for a country where the state remains a powerful force in the economy.
French centre-right politician Pierre Lellouche, who was present in a gathering of parliamentarians who Fillon addressed, said France needed a "massive overhaul" of the country's social and economic system.
"The Germans have done it, the British have done it, Italians are doing it, Spaniards have done it. Apparently only in France it's impossible, and anybody that says contrary is caricatured," he told Reuters Television.
Fillon was the youngest member of France's parliament when he was first elected 35 years ago. He argues that his cost-cutting plan is doable if people on the public payroll work 39 hours a week instead of 35 or less currently.
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