Published: Sun, March 05, 2017
Science | By Boyd Webster

Police raid Francois Fillon's home in fake jobs probe

Police raid Francois Fillon's home in fake jobs probe

The gathering on an esplanade overlooking the Eiffel Tower is meant to be a show of force, though many officials from the Republican party have said they won't be attending.

In a new setback for Fillon, his key aide Bruno Le Maire resigned as his adviser on global affairs, saying the candidate had gone back on his word to withdraw from the election if he was placed under formal investigation. In a similar vein, Le Pen has said she wants to see an end to dual citizenship for French citizens from nations outside of Europe - excluding Russian Federation.

Henri de Castries - a former CEO of the Axa insurance firm - said Fillon should remain in the race because he had "legitimacy" from his clear victory over Alain Juppe in November's nominating contest.

Juppe, 71, has insisted he has no interest in replacing Fillon.

A brief statement by the press office of Fillon's campaign said Stefanini presented his resignation Friday morning and that Fillon had accepted it.

Polls now show, however, that Le Pen will be beaten in the runoff by either the fast-rising Macron or the conservative candidate. The poll also showed centrist politician Emmanuel Macron for the first time taking the lead over Le Pen.

The move paves the way for France to pursue a case against the far right National Front leader, after prosecutors launched a probe in 2015 over the graphic pictures, which included the decapitated body of United States journalist James Foley.

Fillon, claiming he was the target of a "political assassination", vowed at a hastily convened news conference Wednesday: "I won't give in, I won't surrender and I won't withdraw".

Fillon has called the charges against him "entirely calculated to stop me being a candidate for the presidential election" and has ruled out stepping aside.

However, Le Pen later denied saying this.

The mayor of Paris has urged presidential candidate Francois Fillon to call off a planned rally in the capital, accusing it of being "against the values" of France.

"Our responsibility in the years to come is to be able to rebuild the European dream", he said, adding that he would seek to persuade the zone's richest member Germany to invest in other countries.

In an interview with Le Parisien newspaper published on Thursday, Macron said if elected, he would pass a law to "moralise" French politics and fight conflicts of interest.

The 62-year-old ex-prime minister is due to be questioned on 15 March by investigating magistrates, who will decide whether to place him under formal investigation.

The independent candidate is according to the latest polls set to win the second round of the election against Le Pen with about 60 percent of support.

The three lawmakers who quit on Thursday were all Juppe loyalists, and Georges Fenech, a lawmaker who led a failed rebellion against Fillon last month, confirmed on Thursday that he was among those wanting Juppe to stand in Fillon's place.

Audrey Azoulay told The Associated Press outside the Chloe show in Paris Thursday that a "populist power" like the National Front, which wants France to exit the European Union, would be "absolutely incompatible with the idea of fashion and freedom".

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