(b. Le Mans, 4 Mar. 1954)
French; Prime Minister 2007– Like his political ally Nicolas Sarkozy, Fillon studied law rather than attending the École Nationale d'Administration. He started work as a parliamentary assistant in 1976 and for the next few years worked in the private offices of various ministers. In 1981 he was elected a Deputy to the Assembly for his home area of Sarthe as a member of Chirac's Union of the Democrats for the Republic (RPR). He was minister for higher education, 1993–5, and for information technology, 1995–7. He was then in opposition, returning as minister for social affairs and labour, 2002–4, and education, 2004–5, in the government of Raffarin. He was a founder member of the RPR's replacement, the Union for a Popular Movement (UPM), and supported Sarkozy for presidency of the party in 2004. Fillon did not enter the government of de Villepin and acted as presidential campaign manager for Sarkozy. After Sarkozy's election victory he asked Fillon to be Prime Minister. He appointed a much reduced cabinet with only fifteen ministers, half of whom were women. As a moderate within the party, he was able to undertake tasks such as reform of pensions with more collaboration from trades unions than others might have managed. In the face of the global downturn he proposed a €26 billion economic stimulus package in February 2009. In 2008 he was more popular in opinion polls than Sarkozy, a result of Sarkozy's detailed involvement in government, and his taking responsibility for events that would more usually fall to the Prime Minister.