Francois Fillon in five key proposals

He also wants to increase the minimum retirement age from 62 to 65 years for most people. 

AFP| Last Updated: Nov 28, 2016, 01:57 AM IST

Paris: Francois Fillon, set to become the presidential nominee of the French right, is a Thatcher fan who has pledged to slash state spending, restore ties with Russia and defend traditional family values.

Following are five of his top proposals: Fillon wants to cut 500,000 jobs from the country`s 5.4-million-strong public service, part of a plan to cut state spending by 100 billion euros ($106 billion).

He also wants to increase the minimum retirement age from 62 to 65 years for most people. 

To boost competitiveness, he wants to cut corporate tax from 33 percent to 25 percent. He also plans to scrap a wealth tax on top earners.

France`s cherished social security regime will feel the pinch. While treatment for "serious or chronic ailments" would still be reimbursed by the state, smaller ailments would fall under the responsibility of private insurers. Fillon has vowed to scrap the 35-hour working week, a totem of the French left.

Bosses and private sector workers would be left to negotiate working time directly, within an EU limit of 48 hours a week. 

Public servants would work 39 hours a week, paid 37.

Any such reform would be fiercely contested by hardline unions. The head of the militant CGT union, Philippe Martinez, warned a "mobilisation will be on the cards" if the right came to power. A devout Catholic, Fillon considers France has "a problem linked to Islam".

He has demanded that "the Islamic religion accept what all the others have accepted in the past... that radicalism and provocation have no place here."

He rejects multiculturalism, saying migrants -- whose number he wants to reduce to a "strict minimum" -- must assimilate.

"When you enter someone else`s house you do not take over," he declared during the last primary debate. Fillon`s ties with Moscow came under scrutiny in the primary, with his rival Alain Juppe painting him as too close to President Vladimir Putin who praised the man from Le Mans as a "very principled person".

Fillon believes the European Union and the United States "provoked" Russia by expanding in eastern Europe and has called for an alliance with Putin and President Bashar al-Assad`s regime against the Islamic State group in Syria.

Europe must act as the "balance of power" in the world, he says, calling for greater convergence among eurozone members. A devout Catholic,

Fillon opposed a 2013 gay marriage bill that brought hundreds of thousands of people onto the streets in protest. Three years later he wants to amend the legislation to partly repeal gay adoption rights.

He wants to lower taxes on middle-class families and opposes calls for single women and lesbians to be given access to fertility treatment.

He personally opposes abortion but has ruled out revising a 41-year-old law allowing terminations.