|Prime Minister of France|
17 May 2007 – 15 May 2012
|Preceded by||Dominique de Villepin|
|Succeeded by||Jean-Marc Ayrault|
|Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing|
23 February 2012 – 16 May 2012
|Preceded by||Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet|
|Succeeded by||Nicole Bricq (Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy)|
|Minister of National Education, Higher Education and Research|
31 March 2004 – 31 May 2005
|Prime Minister||Jean-Pierre Raffarin|
|Succeeded by||Gilles de Robien|
|Minister of Social Affairs, Labour and Solidarity|
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|
20 March 1998 – 16 May 2002
|Preceded by||Olivier Guichard|
|Succeeded by||Jean-Luc Harousseau|
|Minister delegate for Posts, Telecommunications and Space|
7 November 1995 – 2 June 1997
|Prime Minister||Alain Juppé|
|Preceded by||Himself (Information Technologies and Posts)|
|Succeeded by||Christian Pierret|
|Minister of Information Technologies and Posts|
18 May 1995 – 7 November 1995
|Prime Minister||Alain Juppé|
|Preceded by||José Rossi (Industry, Posts and Telecommunicaitons and External Trade)|
|Succeeded by||Franck Borotra (Industry, Posts and Telecommunicaitons)|
|Minister of Higher Education and Research|
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|
20 April 1992 – 20 March 1998
|Preceded by||Michel d'Aillières|
|Succeeded by||Roland du Luart|
François Charles Armand Fillon
4 March 1954
Le Mans, France
|Political party||The Republicans (Since 2015)|
Penelope Clarke (m. 1980)
François Charles Armand Fillon (French pronunciation: [fʁɑ̃swa ʃaʁl aʁmɑ̃ fijɔ̃]; born 4 March 1954) is a retired French politician who served as Prime Minister of France from 2007 to 2012 under President Nicolas Sarkozy. He was the nominee of the Republicans (previously known as the Union for a Popular Movement), the country's 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. In 2004, as Minister of National Education he proposed the much debated Fillon law on Education.
In 2005, Fillon was elected Senator for the Sarthe department. His role as a political advisor in Nicolas Sarkozy's successful race for President led to his becoming Prime Minister in 2007. Fillon resigned upon Sarkozy's defeat by François Hollande in the 2012 presidential elections.
Running on a platform described as conservative, Fillon entered the 2016 Republican presidential primary. He placed first in the first round on 20 November, defeating Alain Juppé in the primary run-off a week later. Following his victory in the primary, opinion polls showed Fillon as one of the frontrunners for the 2017 presidential election along with Marine Le Pen (FN) and Emmanuel Macron (EM). In March 2017, François Fillon became one of the first candidates of the most important French party to be formally charged in a widening embezzlement investigation due to allegations "that he had paid his wife and children hundreds of thousands of euros from the public payroll for little or no work" in a case that became known as "Penelopegate". In April, he finally came third in the first round with 20%.
In 2020, he was convicted of fraud and misuse of funds, and sentenced to five years in prison (three of them suspended). He has appealed the sentence.
Fillon was born on 4 March 1954 in Le Mans, Sarthe, France. His father, Michel, is a civil law notary, while his mother, Anne Soulet Fillon, is a celebrated historian of Basque descent. His youngest brother, Dominique, is a pianist and jazz musician.
Fillon received a baccalauréat in 1972. He then studied at the University of Maine in Le Mans where he received a master's degree in public law in 1976. He subsequently received a master of Advanced Studies (diplôme d'études approfondies) in public law from Paris Descartes University.
- Minister of Higher Education and Research: 1993–1995.
- Minister of Information Technologies and Posts: May – November 1995.
- Minister responsible for Posts, Telecommunications and Space: 1995–1997.
- Minister of Social Affairs, Labour and Solidarity: 2002–2004.
- Minister of National Education, Higher Education and Research: 2004–2005.
- Prime minister: 2007–2012.
- February to May 2012: he assumed the functions of the Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing, after the resignation of Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet who became spokeswoman of Nicolas Sarkozy's presidential campaign.
National Assembly of France
- President of the Rally-UMP Group in the National Assembly: November 2012 – January 2013.
- Member of the National Assembly for Paris (2nd constituency): 2012–2017.
- Member of the National Assembly for Sarthe (4th constituency): 1981–1993 (became Minister in 1993); 1997–2002 (became Minister in 2002); reelected in 2007 but he became Prime Minister. Elected in 1981, reelected in 1986, 1988, 1993, 1997, 2002, and 2007.
Senate of France
- Senator for Sarthe: 2005–2007 (became Prime Minister in 2007, and he appears again as a member of the National Assembly of France in June 2007). Elected in 2004, remained as Minister. Reelected in 2005.
- President of the Regional Council of Pays-de-la-Loire: 1998–2002 (resignation).
- Vice-president of the Regional Council of Pays-de-la-Loire: 2002–2004.
- Regional councillor of Pays-de-la-Loire: 1998–2007 (Resignation). Reelected in 2004. Elected in Sarthe constituency.
- President of the General Council of Sarthe: 1992–1998. Reelected in 1994.
- Vice President of the General Council of Sarthe: 1985–1992.
- General councillor of the Sarthe, elected in the canton of Sablé-sur-Sarthe: 1981–1998. Reelected in 1985, 1992.
- Mayor of Sablé-sur-Sarthe : 1983–2001. Reelected in 1989, 1995.
- Municipal councillor of Sablé-sur-Sarthe: 1983–2001. Reelected in 1989, 1995.
- Municipal councillor of Solesmes: 2001–2014. Reelected in 2008.
Community of communes Council
- President of the Communauté de communes of Sablé-sur-Sarthe: 2001–2012 (resignation). Reelected in 2008.
- Member of the Communauté de communes of Sablé-sur-Sarthe: 2001–2014. Reelected in 2008.
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. 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. On 13 November 2010, Fillon resigned, paving the way for a cabinet reshuffle. One day later Sarkozy reappointed Fillon as Prime Minister, allowing Fillon to formally name a new cabinet.
Following the defeat of Nicolas Sarkozy to François Hollande in the 2012 presidential election, Fillon resigned on 10 May. Following the inauguration of Hollande as President on 15 May 2012, Jean-Marc Ayrault, Mayor of Nantes, was appointed to succeed Fillon 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, Fillon declared his candidacy to become the President of the UMP party. On the day of the vote, both candidates (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 Copé finally being declared winner.
Fillon threatened to split from UMP unless new elections were organised. In December 2012, Copé agreed to organising elections in 2013, thus putting an end to the crisis.
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. 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. Juppé conceded to Fillon, pledging his support for him as the Republican nominee in the 2017 presidential election.
As of November 2016, Fillon was seen as the frontrunner for the Presidency against the Socialist candidate Benoît Hamon, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen. However, a series of revelations of political scandals at the end of January shattered his presidential bid, being outed of the second round behind Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron in polls. Fillon's visits on the ground then attracted far-left protesters to destabilise his campaign. The news provocated consternation in Germany where Fillon was seen as a serious and trusted candidate.
On 23 April 2017, he secured 20.0% of the votes at the first round of the French presidential election, arriving third, and failing to enter the runoff.
Economy, budget and taxation
Fillon has been described as economically liberal and fiscally conservative. For many observers,[who?] he is more liberal than his mentor Philippe Séguin. 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", and reiterated this promise in 2012 and proposed a referendum on registration of the fiscal golden rule in the Constitution. In defending a policy of controlling the deficit, Fillon is in favour 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. 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. Fillon has been compared to Margaret Thatcher due to his ambition to reduce the size of the state. He says in 2016 that he wants the state healthcare program (securité sociale) to work better with fewer payments.
Fillon is in favour of increasing the retirement age to 65. 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.
Fillon' stances on domestic and social issues are mostly perceived as conservative. As member of the National Assembly, he voted against the equalisation of the age of consent for homosexual relations in 1982, against civil solidarity pacts in 1999, and against the legalisation of same-sex marriage in 2013. However, he says he will not ban the same-sex marriage law if elected President. He opposes adoption by same-sex couples.
Fillon has stated that he is personally opposed to abortion but would not vote to ban it.
Fillon is an advocate of cracking down on Salafism and Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups and has stridently warned against the threat of "Islamic totalitarianism". He has called for dialogue with Syria under Bashar al-Assad and with the Russian Federation, under Vladimir Putin. Putin has been described as a friend of Fillon, although Fillon himself rejects that description.
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. They had lived in various other properties, always in the Sarthe, throughout their marriage, before buying Beaucé in 1993.
Fillon has a reputation as an Anglophile. His wife Penelope Kathryn Fillon, 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.
François Fillon has spoken at a wide variety of universities in Britain, notably King's College London and the London School of Economics. On 1 September 2017, Fillon became a partner at asset manager Tikehau Capital.
Fictitious employment allegations
In January 2017, Le Canard enchaîné published an article in which Penelope Fillon was accused of alleged fictitious employment, as her husband's "assistante parlementaire" for a total salary of €500,000 over eight years on the one hand, and as a "literary adviser" of Revue des deux Mondes on the other, with a monthly salary of €5,000, amounting to a total of another €100,000. A preliminary hearing immediately opened. The public outcry around this so-called "Penelopegate" was such that doubts were voiced about François Fillon himself, who was the frontrunner for the 2017 presidential election, with an immediate sharp decline in the opinion polls.
On 31 January, new reporting by Le Canard enchaîné found that Penelope Fillon was actually paid €300,000 more than previously reported, for a total sum of €831,440 for 15 years of her parliamentary assistant work. It also reported that Fillon had paid two of his children €84,000 for little apparent actual work. On 6 February 2017 Fillon held a press conference. He said "It was a mistake and I apologize to the French [people]" but also said that the salary of his wife was "perfectly justified".
On 3 March 2017, the OCLCIFF (Central office for the fight against corruption and financial and fiscal crime) executed a search at the Manoir de Beaucé where François and Penelope Fillon reside in the Sarthe department. This followed a search by the same agency on 2 March 2017 at the Fillons' Paris residence in the 7th arrondissement. On 6 March 2017, the inner circle of Fillon's party had a crisis meeting. Beforehand, Alain Juppé had definitively excluded becoming a replacement candidate. Fillon continues his candidacy, despite his promise (given on 26 January on TV) to withdraw from the race if subjected to criminal prosecution. On 23 March, Fillon said on national television that Bienvenue Place Beauvau, a book co-authored by Didier Hassoux of Le Canard enchaîné, suggested President François Hollande ran a shadow cabinet to spread rumours about his opponents. Hassoux denied this was the case.
On 24 February 2020, Fillon became one of the few Prime Ministers to ever go on trial. On 29 June 2020, he was convicted of fraud and misuse of funds, and sentenced to five years in prison - three of them suspended. Their lawyers said he will appeal the sentence.
2F Conseil affair
In its edition of 22 March 2017, satirical weekly Le Canard enchaîné reported that Fillon introduced a Lebanese billionaire to Russian President Vladimir Putin at a business forum in St. Petersburg in 2015 as part of a $50,000 contract for Fillon's consulting firm 2F Conseil.
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. Fillon's younger brother Pierre currently serves as the President of the ACO, having been elected in 2013.
Awards and honours
- Grand Cross of the Ordre national du Mérite (21 November 2007 – Automatic six months after taking office)
- Order of the Paulownia Flowers
- Order of the Rising Sun, Grand Cordon, awarded on 9 May 2013
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Ties became particularly close between Messrs Fillon and Putin ....
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- FAZ.net 7 March 2017 / Michaela Wiegel: Der „Trump-Moment“ der Republikaner
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Media related to François Fillon at Wikimedia Commons