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Tags: EU | France | Election | The Latest

The Latest: French Candidate Fillon Defies Pressure to Quit

The Latest: French Candidate Fillon Defies Pressure to Quit

Sunday, 05 March 2017 10:37 AM

PARIS (AP) — The Latest on France's presidential campaign (all times local):

4 p.m.

French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon is urging his supporters not to "give up the fight" for the presidency despite corruption allegations dogging him.

A crowd of thousands were chanting "Fillon, President!" at a Paris rally on Sunday seen as a test of whether he has enough backing to maintain his candidacy.

Fillon assailed the conservative allies who have abandoned his campaign, and pledged to create jobs and slash public spending to put France back on its feet.

Fillon's wife Penelope arrived with her husband at the rally. She has kept an extremely low profile since financial investigators began examining allegations that she and two of their children had taxpayer-funded jobs they never performed. Her job especially went on for years.

Fillon had been a front-runner for France's two-round April-May presidential election until the investigation began.

3:40 p.m.

Waving French flags in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, thousands have gathered to show support for conservative Francois Fillon's troubled presidential candidacy.

The Paris rally could be Fillon's last stand, amid growing pressure on him to quit the race because of corruption allegations. Dozens of buses brought supporters from around France, while riot police stood guard around the Place de Trocadero.

Retirees Luc and Marie Houllier braved rainy, blustery weather to denounce what they see as a politically-driven investigation of taxpayer-funded jobs for Fillon's family.

Luc said "he is the only one who can raise France up again."

Fillon's chances for France's two-round April-May presidential election have fallen since the corruption allegations emerged.

Older people, who make up Fillon's most loyal voter base, constituted a large part of Sunday's crowd, along with parents of young children.

Counter-demonstrations also being held.

11 a.m.

France's presidential campaign is facing a potential turning point as conservative candidate Francois Fillon, facing corruption charges, holds a rally that could determine whether he stays in the race.

Sunday's rally across from the Eiffel Tower is meant to gauge Fillon's remaining support after numerous defections by allies. They're disillusioned by how he has handled the investigation into allegations he arranged parliamentary jobs for his wife and children that they never performed.

Fillon's wife Penelope urged her husband to stay in the race in a newspaper interview published Sunday. They deny wrongdoing.

If Fillon quits, many conservatives want Alain Juppe to run in his place for the two-round April-May vote. Fillon was once the front-runner but polls now favor centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Europe
The Latest on France's presidential campaign (all times local):4 p.m.French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon is urging his supporters not to "give up the fight" for the presidency despite corruption allegations dogging him.A crowd of thousands were...
EU,France,Election,The Latest
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2017-37-05
Sunday, 05 March 2017 10:37 AM
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