Francois Fillon
Francois Fillon Reuters

Francois Fillon will be the conservative candidate in next year's French presidential election after his rival Alain Juppe admitted defeat on Sunday evening.

With virtually all the results counted, reported the BBC, Fillon had won Sunday's run-off with nearly 67% of the vote, while Juppe only won 33%.

As those numbers were made public, Juppe congratulated Fillon on his "large victory" and pledged to support him in his bid to become president.

Fillon said action was now needed to build a fairer society. He is likely to face a Socialist candidate and the far-right's Marine Le Pen in next April's election.

"My approach has been understood," he told his supporters after the result of the party primary became clear, according to the BBC.

"France can't bear its decline. It was truth and it wants action," he added.

Fillon had been widely expected to win the race, after securing 44% of the vote in the first round last Sunday, which saw former President Nicolas Sarkozy knocked out.

Fillion, who served as prime minister under Sarkozy, is proposing dramatic economic reforms that include slashing 500,000 public jobs, ending the 35-hour week, raising the retirement age and scrapping the wealth tax.

Juppe, also a former prime minister, had initially been seen as the favorite to win the race, but struggled against Fillon's strong performances in the primary debates, noted the BBC.

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