Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was knocked out in the first round of a presidential primary on Sunday, saying he planned to vote for former premier Francois Fillon for the second round.
Partial results indicated that Fillon would top the ballot with a commanding lead, followed by former favorite and ex-minister under Sarkozy, Alain Juppe.
"As I have always done throughout my political life, I have stood up for my values, I have stood up for what I believe in with fire, with passion, and exclusively to serve the interests of France. I did not manage to convince a majority of voters. I respect that, and I understand their desire to choose politicians other than me for the future," he told supporters at his campaign headquarters.