Francois Fillon takes strong lead in French presidential primary: Early results

Fillon, a conservative, had 69.5 percent of the vote to 30.5 percent for his centrist rival Alain Juppe.

Paris: Francois Fillon took a strong lead in the run-off of France`s right-wing presidential primary on Sunday, early results showed.

Fillon, a conservative former prime minister, had 68.7 percent of the vote to 31.3 percent for his centrist rival Alain Juppe, results from 3,565 out of 10,229 polling stations showed.

Right-wing voters flocked to the polls for a second week running to pick the candidate expected to face far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the second round of the presidential election in May.

Between 4.2 and 4.6 million people cast ballots in Sunday`s run-off, according to an Elabe estimate for BFM television. 

Some 4.3 million took part in the first round on November 20, which Fillon won by 44.1 percent to Juppe`s 28.5 percent.

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