François Fillon

"Fillon" redirects here. For other uses, see Fillon (disambiguation).
François Fillon
Prime Minister of France
In office
17 May 2007  16 May 2012
President Nicolas Sarkozy
Preceded by Dominique de Villepin
Succeeded by Jean-Marc Ayrault
Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing
In office
22 February 2012  16 May 2012
Preceded by Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet
Succeeded by Nicole Bricq
Minister of National Education, Higher Education and Research
In office
31 March 2004  31 May 2005
Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin
Preceded by Luc Ferry (National Education and Research)
François Loos (Higher Education)
Succeeded by Gilles de Robien
Minister of Social Affairs, Labour and Solidarity
In office
7 May 2002  30 March 2004
Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin
Preceded by Élisabeth Guigou
Succeeded by Jean-Louis Borloo
President of the Regional Council of Pays de la Loire
In office
20 March 1998  16 May 2002
Preceded by Olivier Guichard
Succeeded by Jean-Luc Harousseau
Minister responsible for Posts, Telecommunications and Space
In office
7 November 1995  2 June 1997
Prime Minister Alain Juppé
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Christian Pierret
Minister of Information Technologies and Posts
In office
18 May 1995  7 November 1995
Prime Minister Alain Juppé
Preceded by José Rossi
Succeeded by Franck Borotra
Minister of Higher Education and Research
In office
30 March 1993  11 May 1995
Prime Minister Édouard Balladur
Preceded by Hubert Curien (Research)
Succeeded by François Bayrou
President of the General Council of Sarthe
In office
20 April 1992  20 March 1998
Preceded by Michel d'Aillières
Succeeded by Roland du Luart
Personal details
Born François Charles Amand Fillon
(1954-03-04) 4 March 1954
Le Mans, France
Political party Rally for the Republic (Before 2002)
Union for a Popular Movement (2002–2015)
Republicans (2015–present)
Spouse(s) Penelope Clarke (fr) (m. 1980)
Children 5
Alma mater University of Maine
Paris Descartes University
Religion Roman Catholic

François Charles Amand Fillon (French pronunciation: [fʁɑ̃.swa ʃaʁl amɑ̃ fi.jɔ̃]; born 4 March 1954) is a French politician who served as Prime Minister of France from 2007 to 2012 under President Nicolas Sarkozy,[1][2] and the current nominee of The Republicans (previously known as the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP)), the largest centre-right political party, for the 2017 presidential election.

Fillon became Jean-Pierre Raffarin's Minister of Labour in 2002 and undertook controversial reforms of the 35-hour working week law and of the French retirement system. Fillon became Minister of National Education in 2004 and proposed the much debated Fillon law on Education.

In 2005 he was not included in the new government headed by Dominique de Villepin, but was elected Senator for the Sarthe Département. His role as a political advisor in Nicolas Sarkozy's successful race for President led to his becoming Prime Minister. Fillon resigned upon Sarkozy's defeat to François Hollande in the 2012 presidential elections.

Running on a platform described as "the right of the right",[3] Fillon entered the 2016 Republican presidential primary. He seemed a likely third as late as a week before the first round of voting, held on 20 November. He placed first in the first round, defeating Alain Juppé in the primary run-off a week later. Following his victory in the primary, Fillon has been seen as the frontrunner for the 2017 presidential election.

Early life

Fillon was born on 4 March 1954 in Le Mans, Sarthe, France. His father is a civil law notary, while his mother, Anne Fillon, is a celebrated historian of Basque descent.[4] His youngest brother, Dominique, is a pianist.[5] His younger brother, Pierre, is a physician specializing in ophthalmology. A third brother died in a car collision in 1981.

Fillon received a baccalauréat in 1972. He then studied at the University of Maine (l’université du Maine) in Le Mans where he received a master's degree in public law in 1976. He did additional studies at Paris Descartes University earning the master of Advanced Studies (diplôme d’études approfondies) in public law.[6]

Connections with the United Kingdom

François Fillon speaking in the National Assembly.

Fillon has a reputation as an Anglophile.[7] His wife Penelope (née Penelope Kathryn Clarke (fr)) was born in Llanover, Wales;[8] and he has spoken at a wide variety of universities in Britain, notably King's College London and the London School of Economics.[7][9]

Political career

Governmental functions
Electoral mandates

National Assembly of France

Senate of France

Regional Council

General Council

Municipal Council

Community of communes Council

Prime Minister

François Fillon speaking in Warsaw.

The day after Nicolas Sarkozy became President he appointed Fillon as Prime Minister of France, charging him with the task of forming a new cabinet, which was announced on 18 May 2007.[10] By appointing as Secretary of State André Santini, who had been indicted in the Fondation Hamon affair on charges of corruption, Fillon made the first break since 1992 with the so-called "Balladur jurisprudence", according to which an indicted governmental personality should resign until the case is closed.[11]

Resignation and cabinet reshuffle

On 13 November 2010, Fillon resigned, paving the way for a cabinet reshuffle.[12]

On 14 November 2010, French President Nicolas Sarkozy reappointed Fillon as Prime Minister, allowing Fillon to formally name a new cabinet.[13]

In 2012 in a country where foreign citizens are traditionally held to a devoir de réserve (non-involvement in politics) Fillon challenged the conviction accorded to Eva Joly (a French citizen but of Norwegian origin)'s expression. He subsequently suggested that Jews and Muslims abandon their traditional food practices (but has since apologised). Earlier as Minister for Education he had strongly advocated restriction on the wearing of religious signs in schools and other 'public' places.

Fillon resigned on 10 May 2012 with his cabinet, following the defeat of Nicolas Sarkozy to François Hollande in the 2012 presidential elections. Following the inauguration of Hollande as President on 15 May 2012, Jean-Marc Ayrault, mayor of Nantes, was appointed as Prime Minister.

UMP presidential election

Aiming at building consensus within the diverging views at the UMP after Francois Hollande's victory in the French presidential elections in 2012, Francois Fillon declared his candidacy to become the President of the UMP party. On the day of the vote, both candidates François Fillon and Jean-François Copé claimed victory and accused the other of cheating. This led to a major political crisis within the party with votes being recounted twice and Jean-François Copé finally being declared winner.

François Fillon threatened to split from UMP unless new elections were organized. In December 2012, Jean-François Copé, finally agreed to organizing new elections in 2013, thus putting an end to the crisis.

Presidential primary

Fillon entered the 2016 Republican presidential primary, held on 20 November 2016, and seemed a likely third as late as a week before the vote.[14] In early counting, Fillon emerged as the clear frontrunner, with Alain Juppé in second place. Third place Sarkozy conceded, bringing his support to Fillon, and Fillon and Juppé went into the run-off on 27 November 2016.[15] Juppé conceded to Fillon, pledging his support for him as the Republican nominee in the 2017 presidential election.[16] Since his victory in the primaries, Fillon was seen as the frontrunner in the presidential elections.[17]

Political positions

Economy, budget and taxation

Fillon has been described as a reformist liberal. For many observers, he is more liberal than his mentor Philippe Séguin.[18][19] A few months after taking office as prime minister, he declared that he was "at the head of a state that is bankrupt financially, [...] which for 15 years has been in chronic deficit, [...] that has not voted a balanced budget for 25 years." He then committed publicly to "bring the state budget to balance by the end of the five-year",[20] and reiterated this promise in 2012[21] and proposed a referendum on registration of the fiscal golden rule in the Constitution.[22] In defending a policy of controlling the deficit, Fillon is in favor of abolishing the wealth tax, which he considers one of the causes of the debt of France. According to him, this tax discourages foreign entrepreneurs.[23] This tax would be offset by the creation of a top slice of income tax to 50%, which would be included in the CSG.

As a presidential candidate, Fillon aims to reduce the public sector and cut 500,000 civil-service jobs.[24] Fillon has been compared to Margaret Thatcher due to his ambition to reduce the size of the state.[25][26][27]


Fillon is in favour of increasing the retirement age to 65.[28] During the 2012 presidential election, he proposed that each job seeker should be offered vocational training and be forced to accept the employment offered to them after training.[21]

Domestic and foreign policy

Fillon is an advocate of cracking down on Salafism and Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups[29] and has stridently warned against the threat of "Islamic totalitarianism".[30] He has called for dialogue with the Russian Federation, under Vladimir Putin, described as a friend of Fillon's,[31][32] although Fillon himself rejects the description of being Putin's 'friend',[33] and with Syria under Bashar al-Assad.[30]

As member of the National Assembly Fillon voted against the equalization of the age of consent for homosexual relations in 1982, against civil solidarity pacts in 1999, and against the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2013.[34][35] He opposes adoption by same-sex couples.[35]

Fillon has stated that he is personally opposed to abortion but would not vote to ban it.[35]

Personal life

Fillon lives with his wife, Penelope, and five children, Marie, Charles, Antoine, Édouard and Arnaud, in the 12th-century Manoir de Beaucé, set in 20 acres (8 ha) of woodland on the banks of the River Sarthe 4 km east of the monastery village of Solesmes, near Sablé-sur-Sarthe, and about halfway between Le Mans and Angers. M. and Mme. Fillon had lived in various other properties, always in the Sarthe, throughout their marriage, before buying Beaucé in 1993.[5]

His wife Penelope Kathryn Fillon (fr) (née Clarke) was born in Llanover in Wales, the daughter of a solicitor. They met while she was teaching English during her gap year in Le Mans, and they were married in the bride's family church in June 1980.[5][36][37][38] Fillon's younger brother, Pierre, an ophthalmic specialist (and now President of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest), later married Penelope Fillon's younger sister, Jane.[39]

Le Mans race

Having lived all his life in the Le Mans area and represented it politically, Fillon is an enthusiastic supporter of the city's famous 24 hour sportscar race, which he has attended nearly every year since he was a small child. He is a member of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, which stages the event, and is on the race's organisation committee. He has also competed in the Le Mans Legend historic sportscar races on the full 24-hour circuit and in a number of other classic road rallies.[40] Fillon's younger brother Pierre currently serves as the President of the ACO, having been elected in 2013.[41]

Awards and honours


  1. "Communiqué de la Présidence de la République concernant la nomination du Premier ministre" (in French). Élysée Palace. 17 May 2007. Retrieved 17 May 2007.
  2. "Décret du 17 mai 2007 portant nomination du Premier ministre" (in French). Retrieved 4 August 2010.
  3. "2017 : pourquoi François Fillon est une menace pour le FN". Retrieved 30 November 2016.
  4. "Décès d'Anne Fillon, mère de l'ex-Premier ministre". Ouest France. France. 17 August 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  5. 1 2 3 Willsher, Kim; Finan, Tim (7 May 2007). "Welshwoman prepares for life in French No 10". The Daily Telegraph. UK. Retrieved 12 May 2007.
  6. "François Fillon - Biographie - Le Parisien".
  7. 1 2 Chrisafis, Angelique (18 May 2007). "Anglophile Fillon is new French PM". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 18 May 2007.
  8. "Gwent woman Penelope Fillon could become France's 'First Lady'",, November 23, 2016. Retrieved 2016-11-23.
  9. Chrisafis, Angelique (17 June 2015). "François Fillon in London on 17th June". France in London. UK. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  10. Communiqué de la Présidence de la République concernant la composition du gouvernement de M. François FILLON, Premier ministre. Archived 20 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Élysée Palace, 18 May 2007
  11. La mise en examen de M. Santini n'a pas empêché sa nomination au gouvernement, Le Monde, 22 June 2007 (French)
  12. AFP: Sarkozy clears decks for French government reshuffle
  13. "French Prime Minister Reappointed". The New York Times. 14 November 2010. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
  14. Willsher, Kim, and Matthew Weaver, "Who is François Fillon – the man who ended Sarkozy's dream?", The Guardian, 21 November 2016. Retrieved 2016-11-21.
  15. "Fillon shakes up France's unpredictable presidential race". 2016-11-20. Retrieved 2016-11-20.
  16. "France's Juppe concedes defeat, backs Fillon in presidential election". Reuters. 27 November 2016.
  17. "François Fillon: now the favourite to be France's next president".
  18. UMP : Au-delà des postures, quelles différences idéologiques entre Copé, Fillon et Juppé sur du 3 juillet 2012.
  19. Infographie : dans la tête de François Fillon sur du 16 novembre 2012.
  20. Fillon affirme être à la tête d'un État en "faillite" sur, article AFP, du 22 septembre 2007.
  21. 1 2 Castres. Fillon défend le bilan du quinquennat sur du 4 mai 2012.
  22. Règle d'Or: Fillon pour un référendum après l'élection présidentielle sur du 14 février 2012.
  23. François Fillon: "L'assommoir fiscal tue l'économie" sur du 27 août 2013.
  24. "France's Republicans choose François Fillon to battle Marine Le Pen for the presidency". The Economist. 27 November 2016. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  25. "French Thatcherite Upends 2017 Race Pledging to Shrink the State".
  26. "'France wants action': Thatcherite Francois Fillon promises radical reforms after winning presidential primary".
  27. "Thatcherite victor vows sharp shock for France".
  28. François Fillon : "L'assommoir fiscal tue l'économie" sur du 27 août 2013.
  29. ERASMUS (24 November 2016). "As European authorities target Salafism, the word needs parsing". The Economist. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  30. 1 2 "A Republican primary upset knocks Nicolas Sarkozy out of France's presidential race". The Economist. 20 November 2016. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  31. "François Fillon and the danger of dancing with the Russian bear". Ties became particularly close between Messrs Fillon and Putin ....
  32. "François Fillon's win in France's Republican primaries upends the presidential race". The Economist. 26 November 2016. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  33. "François Fillon, Thatcherite with a thing for Russia". Politico. 21 November 2016. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
  34. "Quand Fillon votait contre la dépénalisation de l'homosexualité et le PACS" [When Fillon voted against the decriminalization of homosexuality and PACS]. Midi Libre (in French). Societe du Journal Midi Libre S.A. 31 January 2013. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  35. 1 2 3 Chrisafis, Angelique (23 November 2016). "How François Fillon became the French right's new hope". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  36. Campbell, Matthew (7 October 2007). "Madame Rosbif pricks Gallic pride". The Times. UK. Retrieved 7 October 2007.
  37. Chrisafis, Angelique (6 May 2007). "Sarkozy's first hundred days". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 12 May 2007.
  38. "François Fillon – Minister for National Education, Higher Education and Research". Embassy of France in the United States. 31 March 2004. Archived from the original on 10 May 2007. Retrieved 12 May 2007.
  39. "BBC NEWS - UK - Wales - Welsh wife of new French premier".
  40. "Le Mans racer to be France's next Prime Minister?". 7 May 2007. Retrieved 12 May 2007.
  41. "behind the title Pierre Fillon". 9 June 2015. Retrieved 23 August 2016.

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