Francois Fillon to be summoned over 'fake work' scandal

Ever since he announced Wednesday in a defiant speech that he would soon be placed under formal investigation by French judicial authorities but would nonetheless remain a candidate in the election, Fillon has faced a wave of resignations from his campaign team.

Juppe, 71, "will not refuse if all the conditions are met - Francois Fillon has to take the decision to pull out himself and the rightwing and centre camps. have to be united behind him", the source said. He has kept a low profile since.

Pierre Haski, who founded French news website Rue89, said the Republicain candidate's drive to become France's next leader is all but over following allegations he paid his wife and children thousands of taxpayers' money for parliamentary work they may never have done.

On Thursday, high-flying centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron unveiled his policy program in an attempt to answer critics who say the 39-year-old former economy minister is all image and little substance.

His advisor Jerome Chartier said he was also planning a rally in Paris on Sunday. The supporters of Bordeaux mayor Alain Juppé, who lost to Fillon in the primary's final round, have all withdrawn.

But he will now face his biggest challenge yet to keep his Republicans party colleagues in line, with some members known to be plotting against him.

Polls now show Fillon finishing in third place in the first round, behind Le Pen and Macron.

In second round voting scheduled for 7 May, that latest Opinionway poll put support for Macron at 62.0% and that for Le Pen at 38.0%.

Fillon had been an early favorite to win the presidential race.

Fillon's being summoned means that investigating magistrates believe there is enough evidence to charge him for embezzlement of public funds, which could lead to a trial. "Candidacy for the presidential election does not authorize casting suspicion on the work of police and judges, to create a climate of defiance incompatible with the spirit of responsibility. extremely serious accusations against the justice system and our institutions", he said.

"Mr Fillon is now the third man", he wrote.

  • Leroy Wright