Majority of French see Le Pen's far-right party threat to democracy

French daily Le Parisien led its front page with the Socialist defections on Thursday, asking "Will Macron eat the Socialist Party?"

Marine Le Pen, the National Front presidential candidate, has stated that in two months after her victory in the presidential election she intends to introduce the new franc, equivalent to the euro, allowing the fluctuation of the new currency.

Macron is expected to win 26 per cent of the vote during the first round of voting on April 23, while Le Pen is due to follow closely behind on 25 per cent.

Over the past week or so, the reality has dawned on Socialists - their man will never win.

Le Canard Enchaine newspaper, which originally published the allegations, claimed on Tuesday that Mr Fillon had failed to declare an interest-free loan of €50,000 (£43,000) from a billionaire friend.

The central scenario also foresees France's centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron winning the country's presidential election, but struggling to carve out a governing mandate. Delanoe was hugely popular among Parisians and said that he had to think hard about the decision to back the centrist candidate.

Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has not explicitly backed candidate Benoit Hamon, but appeared with him on Thursday and said the contender has to bring together his "political family" to effectively face off against the National Front.

Macron's manifesto includes measures to protect the middle classes in France, who he has described as being mistreated by political parties from both sides of the spectrum.

Though no polls now show her winning, the anti-immigration nationalist is hoping to emulate the success of US President Donald Trump, who has faced his own problems with rebellious diplomats.

Jean-Jacques Mourad, a cardiologist, is said to have made almost 60 business visits and appearances at conferences between 2013 and June 2016, paid for by the Servier pharmaceutical company, during which he ran up tens of thousands of euros of expenses.

Macron also said he had asked his party's ethics committee to ask all contributors to working groups to flag up any possible conflicts of interest.

  • Leroy Wright