French voters send Francois Fillon and Alain Juppe to the runoff election for conservative nominee for president, putting an end to the comeback attempt of former president Nicolas Sarkozy. Diane Hodges reports.
While the votes in France were still being counted Sunday night, the result was clear.... Former prime minister Francois Fillon was the winner of the first round of country's presidential primary. Fillon, an economic liberal, won 44-percent of the vote to top the field of seven candidates. He says the result shows French voters are ready for a change. (SOUNDBITE) (French) CANDIDATE FOR CENTRE RIGHT'S 2017 FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION NOMINATION, FRANCOIS FILLON, SAYING: "A powerful energy has been unleashed all around us. There is hope, and that hope has emerged with strength all over France, contradicting all predictions." Fillon topped another former prime minister, Alain Juppe, who had long been leading in the polls. But he struggled to fire up voters as the election neared, and emerged with about 28 percent of the vote. He'll now face Fillon in a run-off election in one week. Meanwhile, the vote marks an end to the comeback attempt of former president Nicolas Sarkozy. He's now throwing his support behind Fillon in the runoff.