Fillon vows to stay in French race amid defections

Posted March 05, 2017

Financial markets are closely watching the turbulent French campaign, in which far-right candidate Marine Le Pen is seeking to repeat the kind of anti-establishment shock that saw Britons vote to quit the European Union a year ago and Donald Trump elected as us president.

Le Pen, in addition to being the leader of France's far-right National Front party, is also a lawmaker with the European Parliament.

Le Pen is being investigated in France after tweeting pictures of Islamic State atrocities in 2015.

The weekly claimed, citing pay slips, that Fillon had paid about €1 million ($1.08 million) out of public funds to his wife and two children as parliamentary assistant and legal consultants, respectively.

Ms Le Pen has consistently topped polls for the first round of voting although it is thought her opponent would be able to unify opposition against her in the decider.

Le Pen holds a series of anti-European Union views - on the fringes of the French political spectrum they, nevertheless feed into her isolationist, Gaulist global outlook.

A Figaro/LCI poll on Sunday put Mr Macron - who was unveiling his manifesto at the same time as it was revealed Ms Le Pen had lost her immunity - on 58 percent in the run-off, against 42 percent for Ms Le Pen.

Fillon is also experiencing internal setbacks to his campaign, as his European and worldwide affairs representative Bruno Le Maire announced Wednesday that he was resigning.

Le Pen's chief of staff, Catherine Griset, was handed a preliminary charge of receiving money through a breach of trust.

Fillon vows to stay in French race amid defections
Fillon vows to stay in French race amid defections

Members of Fillon's campaign "couldn't even look" at him, it said, describing them as "paralysed.by the spectacle that their moribund candidate has imposed on them".

Fillon however vowed to stay in the race. The first French presidential ballot will take place on April 23 and the two top candidates go into a runoff on May 7.

"It's a bit much.so she'll respond after [the elections]", he said.

On Wednesday, influent members from his Republicans party called on him to renounce.

In that second round, he is now projected to face Marine Le Pen, the far-right leader with an anti-immigration, anti-EU platform.

Le Pen told CNN she's not anxious about her immunity being lifted.

Macron lays out his platform Thursday on an upswing, as pressure mounts on conservative rival Francois Fillon, facing charges that he arranged taxpayer-funded jobs for his family that they never performed.

The allegations against Fillon are particularly damaging after he campaigned as a sleaze-free reformer ready to administer a "radical" economic overhaul and cut wasteful public spending.

However, Le Pen, now the most popular candidate in the French presidential elections but unlikely to win a second round vote under France's electoral system, is unlikely to be hurt politically by any investigation.

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