France’s Fillon wins party backing

- Reuters, PARIS/BORDEAUX

Mar 8, 2017-

Francois Fillon fought off a rebellion that had threatened to end his candidacy for the French presidency on Monday as party leaders swung behind the centre-right former prime minister despite allegations that he had misused public funds.

Hours after party heavyweight Alain Juppe ruled out challenging Fillon, the conservative Republicans’ party leadership unanimously backed their beleaguered candidate, Senate leader Gerard Larcher said.

“The Republicans are united around Francois Fillon,” Larcher told reporters, after telling fellow party officials behind closed doors: “The debate is over”.  The conservatives are re-launching Fillon’s campaign, party chief Bernard Accoyer added.

Less than 50 days from the election, opinion polls show 63-year old Fillon—once the election frontrunner—crashing out in the first round. They also show an overwhelming majority of French wanted him to drop out of the election.

But despite growing calls within the party against his candidacy, challengers failed to convince Fillon to step down voluntarily and could not agree on an alternative candidate.

Published: 08-03-2017 08:22

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