François Fillon (fräNswä´ fēyôN´), 1954–, French political leader, b. Le Mans. A moderate conservaetive, he has served as an assembly deputy (1981–2002, 2007–) and a senator (2004–7) from Sarthe as well as in local elected posts. He was appointed minister for higher education and research (1993–97) by Premier ÉdouardBalladur and, after the election of President Jacques Chirac, served as minister (and then junior minister) for telecommunications and postal services (1995–97) until the Socialists won control of the French parliament. When the Union for a Popular Movement won the 2002 elections, Fillon returned to the cabinet as social affairs and labor minister (2002–4) and successfully negotiated with the labor unions to win important pension and labor reforms. Subsequently minister for education and research, he allied with Nicolas Sarkozy after being removed from the cabinet in reshuffle in 2005. Fillon directed Sarkozy's successful presidential campaign in 2007 and served (2007–12) as premier after Sarkozy took office.