Francois Fillon needs 'a massive stroke of luck' for electoral success
Mr Fillon has rode a violent storm to keep his place as the conservative candidate in the forthcoming elections.
He has managed to silence critics within in his own party but must now appeal to voters beyond right-wing base to make it to the Élysée Palace.
Mr Fillon still faces the same political obstacles that have hampered his campaign: a broken promise, a contentious platform and poor poll ratings.
French Front National leader Marine Le Pen is expected to win the first round of elections
It will take a big lucky streak, such as a massive Macron faux pas, to get him to the Élysée
Républicains party aide
He managed to survive the announcement that he is to go under formal judicial investigation for alleged misuse of public funds – paying his British wife Penelope and their children for parliamentary work – despite previously pledging to stand down under such circumstances.
One Républicains party aide said: “Like him or not, he has also demonstrated his real capacity to resist an incredible crisis.”
His popularity ratings took a hit but his fall in the polls has been less spectacular than the rise of his centre-left rival Emmanuel Macron.
Francois Fillon faces investigation over payment to his wife and children
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Six weeks ago they were running neck and neck for second place in the April 23 first round of the election, behind far-right leader Marine Le Pen.
Mr Macron is now a close second, a comfortable six or seven points ahead of Mr Fillon, making Mr Macron favourite to win the presidency in the second-round run-off two weeks later.
Mr Fillon, meanwhile, is now closer to fourth-placed official Socialist Party candidate Benoît Hamon whose campaign has failed to take off.
And he longer seen as certain to beat Ms Le Pen should he somehow make it to the second round.
Emmanuel Macron has surged ahead of Francois Fillon in the opinion polls Candidates for the 2017 French Presidential Election Mon, January 30, 2017
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One critic within the Républicains party told politico.eu: “With his platform and the scandal, he has alienated many socialist or even centre-left voters who will not bother to go to the polls even if it means giving Le Pen a chance.”
There is still a glimmer of hope within the party that their man can somehow pull off an electoral shock and win the election but official acknowledge it would take a stroke out outrageous good fortune.
One ally said: “He needs to repair the party’s broken machine, unite its warring factions and amend his platform to shed the radical far-right image his adversaries have painted.”
Another official said: “It will take a big lucky streak, such as a massive Macron faux pas, to get him to the Élysée. He won’t get there on his own.”
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