>> Two men fighting for a chance to be the next French president, continuing their campaign ahead of a runoff on Sunday to be named the Conservative candidate. The race now between two former prime ministers, Alain Juppe and Francois Fillon, who will battle it out on Sunday. That after former president Nicolas Sarkozy crushed out in the first round.
Reuter's Richard Locke is in Paris.>> Francois Fillon finished with around 44% of the vote, so that leaves him just six points shy of the threshold needed to win the second round. Alain Juppe, in comparison, was trading in the high 20s. And he is going to have to galvanize the center, the center-right, and maybe also persuade those left-wing voters to come out and vote again.
>> Until just a few weeks ago, Fillon was very much seen as the third man in the race, and trailing a long way behind. No one foresaw the surge of popularity that would leave him 15 points clear of his nearest rival on Sunday.>> Francois Fillon is a social conservative and an economic liberal.
To please him, he was an ardent admirer of the late British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. And his campaign platform has focused on economic policies that would see him roll back the French state, slash public sector jobs, all intended to reign in government expenditure. And Juppe has been portrayed by his rivals as a candidate of half measures, as a weak reformer who would be held hostage by those in the center that he had forged an alliance with in order to make his way through this contest.
>> All the polls suggest next spring's election will be a head-to-head between the leader of the far-right, Front Nationale Marine Le Pen, and the winner of Sunday's contest. Although, with Brexit and Trump, the polls aren't having a great time of it at the moment.