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German minister praises French candidate Fillon's economics

Associated Press Associated Press 4 days ago
Francois Fillon puts his hand on his hear after delivering a speech following the conservative presidential primary Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016 in Paris. Fillon won France's first-ever conservative presidential primary Sunday after promising drastic free-market reforms and a crackdown on immigration and Islamic extremism, beating a more moderate rival who had warned of encroaching populism. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu) © The Associated Press Francois Fillon puts his hand on his hear after delivering a speech following the conservative presidential primary Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016 in Paris. Fillon won France's first-ever conservative presidential primary Sunday after promising drastic free-market reforms and a crackdown on immigration and Islamic extremism, beating a more moderate rival who had warned of encroaching populism. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

BERLIN — Germany's powerful finance minister is praising conservative French presidential candidate Francois Fillon's economic program as strong and says he hopes that far-right leader Marine Le Pen never becomes president in France.

Fillon won France's first-ever conservative presidential primary on Sunday after promising drastic free-market reforms, along with a crackdown on immigration and Islamic extremism. Le Pen is expected to be his toughest competitor in the two-round presidential election in April and May.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, a leading conservative and a key architect of Europe's response to its recent debt troubles, said Tuesday that Fillon's program "has strong plausibility (on) how France could better display its true strengths."

Schaeuble added "to be clear, I hope that Ms. Le Pen never becomes president of France."

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