>> The new front runner for the French presidency. Conservative reformer Francois Fillon winning his party's primary on Sunday by a landslide, beating more moderate rival Alain Juppe with two-thirds of the vote. With the rival socialist lagging in the polls, he's now likely to face off against far right National Front Leader Marine Le Pen in next spring's presidential runoff.
Reuters Paris Bureau Chief Andy Callus.>> He's a very strong favorite now. The SNAP opinion poll that came out late last night gives him two-thirds of the vote against Marine Le Pen in the second round of the presidential election next May.>> The former prime minister compares himself to free market icons Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.
He wants to raise the retirement age, cut back social security and scrap the country's 35-hour working week. That would normally make him unpalatable for the country's Left but they may be out of options.>> Fillon doesn't have that centrist appeal that Juppe had but for socialist voters, certainly the opinion polls suggest that they would do what socialists voters did sometime ago and rally against the National Front candidate to vote for whoever is opposing her.
>> Even so, Fillon's proposals could be a tough sell. Earlier this year, France so major protest against labor reforms much milder than he's setting out.>> Many voters won't relish a choice between right and further right.