Former French prime minister Francois Fillon on Sunday won the Republicans party’s nomination for the 2017 presidential elections in the country. Results from 9,915 out of 10,229 polling stations showed Fillon winning 66.5% of the roughly four million votes cast in the party’s primaries, AFP reported.

Fillon, who was prime minister from 2007 till 2012, promised to represent all those “who in their hearts are proud to be French”. “France can no longer bear its decline. France wants the truth and France wants action,” he said.

Meanwhile, Fillon’s chief rival Alain Juppe conceded defeat and wished him “good luck”. During the campaign, Juppe had questioned Fillon’s views on abortion and had also accused him of being a “yes man” for Russian President President Vladimir Putin.

The centre-right candidate, who has promised to cut at least 500,000 public sector jobs if voted to power, has also called on the European Union to lift its sanctions on Russia. He will now face far-right leader Marine Le Pen and the candidate of the Socialist Party, of which current President Francois Hollande is a member. While polls currently place Fillon ahead of Le Pen, the April-May 2017 elections will be seen as a test of mainstream political candidates in the West following Donald Trump’s victory in the United States presidential elections.