François Fillon is no stranger to high office. He served as prime minister for five years, he was president of the
regional council of Sarthe, four years president of the region, seven years a minister, eighteen years mayor and 26 years a member of parliament.
After five years as prime minister in shadows of former president Nicolas Sarkozy, Fillion beat the favourite Alain Juppé and won ‘les Républicains’ presidential nomination promising to cut the public sector and free up the labour market.
Described as a Gallic Thatcher, he is a fan of racing cars and mountains and is popular among the Catholic electorate.
The father of five lives in a 12th century castle with his Welsh-born wife Penelope.
Fillon’s campaign hit the skids when the satirical newspaper “Le Canard Enchaine” alleged that his wife had been fraudulently paid hundreds of thousands euros of public money for work she did not do.
His two sons were also on the payroll.
An official investigation was opened but Fillon strongly denies wrongdoing: he claimed to be the victim of a plot to take him out of the presidential race.
He lost support, but he is stubbornly hanging around the 19 percent.
Fillon says he has been in politics all his life and has held many high ranking posts except the presidency.