Majority of French think Fillon should pull out of presidential race

After winning the French Republican primary by a landslide, François Fillon has become embroiled in a corruption scandal involving his wife and children.. [European People's Party/Flickr]

As the investigation continues into allegations that François Fillon fraudulently employed his wife and children, the French presidential candidate is choosing to brush the issue aside and continue his campaign. EURACTIV’s partner Ouest-France reports.

According to a survey carried out by Odoxa for Franceinfo, 61% of French people, including almost half (46%) of right-wing voters and one in three (32%) Republican Party sympathisers believe Fillon is wrong not to have already dropped out of the presidential race.

“When it comes to the political consequences of scandals or affairs affecting political personalities at a given time, it is wise to take care not to elevate public opinion to the position of judge, jury and executioner,” Odoxa said.

“With this in mind, we wanted to find out what the French people think of François Fillon – who said he would maintain his candidacy as long as official charges were not brought – and we absolutely did not attempt to find out if the French people think he is guilty or even if he should withdraw without being clear about the context of this decision,” the surveyors added.

Embattled Fillon tells rivals to 'leave my wife alone'

François Fillon’s involvement in an employment scandal has his supporters on edge as the looming threat of far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, and the presidential election itself, draw closer. EURACTIV’s partner Der Tagesspiegel.

61% believe Fillon should go

The result was unequivocal: “61% of French people believe Fillon was wrong and that he should withdraw his candidacy,” while just 39% see his statement that he will “hold on and maintain [his] candidacy so long as [he is] not charged”.

Right-wing voters in general (including the National Front) are divided on the issue, with 54% supporting Fillon and 46% calling for him to stand down. But the candidate may draw some consolation from the fact that he is backed by 68% of Republican Party supporters still support his campaign.

But that still leaves one third of his own party’s faithful that thinks he should pull out. And one third is also the amount by which Fillon’s polling figures have dropped since his candidacy was announced in November. From more than 30%, his popularity has fallen to around 20% in the latest polls.

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