Hope for French centrists as Fillon’s fall from grace continues

Emmanuel Macron is now emerging as favourite

Image: Remi Jouan

Seven in ten voters in France now want the man once thought to be the favourite to become president to withdraw from the race, according to new polling by Odoxa for France Info radio.

The Republican candidate, Francois Fillon was, just a few months ago the favourite to beat Marine  Le Pen in the second round of voting for the presidency in just a few months’ time.

Yesterday’s new polling however indicates the depths to which he has fallen following allegations that he paid his wife out of taxpayers money for a parliamentary assistant’s job that was not real.

The survey reports also that 74 per cent of people have a bad opinion of the former Prime Minister, with 53 per cent of those on the right wanting him replaced as the party’s candidate.

With prosecutors undertaking a full investigation into what has become known as ‘PenelopeGate’ after the name of his wife, Fillon earlier this week sought to mount a fightback .

Whilst arguing that he had done nothing illegal, he never the less apologised for employing his wife which, he said, was a ‘mistake’ which he ‘deeply regretted’, admitting that employing family members created ‘distrust nowadays’.

Fillon pledged however to carry on in the race, declaring that he was ‘in the campaign to win it’.

The whole episode continues however to represent good news for the independent centrist candidate, Emmanuel Macron. According to a recent poll by Opinionway, while Marine Le Pen is set to win the first round of voting in the Presidential election, Macron looks set for a clear victory in the second round by 65 per cent of the vote to 35 per cent.

Macron yesterday released a video, in English, encouraging scientist in the United States who feel their work is threatened under President Trump to come to France. ‘We like innovation’, he said ‘we want innovative people. We want people working on climate change, energy, renewables and new technology. France is your nation.’

In a direct swipe at Trump, Macron continued:

“I do know your new president has decided to jeopardise your budget, your initiatives as he is extremely sceptical about climate change. I have no doubt about climate change and how committed we have to be regarding this issue.

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor at Left Foot Forward

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