Fillon had been a favourite to win but after an Elabe poll revealed three out of four people in France are unconvinced by his defence surrounding suspicions of his wife’s fictitious jobs, the right-wing candidate is now lagging behind National Front leader Marine Le Pen and could soon be overtaken by independent centrist Emmanuel Macron.
With his presidency bid in disarray, MPs within his own Les Républicains party are concerned Fillon has become an electoral liability who could cost them in elections later this year.
Fillon's candidacy is being called into question by his own party's MPs
Let us be honest, regardless we like him or not, Juppe is the only one in France who can confidently defeat Le Pen
Georges Fenech, Les Républicains MP for the Rhône, said Fillon’s candidacy was “no longer tenable” and branded his party’s nomination “null and void” in the wake of the allegations.
Former education minister Luc Ferry echoed Mr Fenech’s views, backing Fillon’s former rival Alain Juppé as his replacement.
He tweeted: "The right will not make it to the second round without Juppe's returning.
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“Under this crazy circumstance, Le Pen can defeat [Benoit] Hamon and even [former Economy Minister Emmanuel] Macron.
“Let us be honest, regardless we like him or not, Juppe is the only one in France who can confidently defeat Le Pen.”
Fillon's wife Penelope allegedly recieved huge sums of taxpayer's money
Another Les Républicains MP told Le Parisian newspaper: "I think that the only plan B is Juppe because no one has enough power except him.”
Juppé was defeated by Fillon in November when the two battled to become the Républicains candidate but the 71-year-old could soon come back into the frame if allegations against Fillon continue.
He had pledged to heal France’s divisions and called for the UK’s Brexit timetable to be sped up, with the former French prime minister and Bordeaux mayor adding that he doesn’t want to see Britain published for its decision to leave the EU.
Other possible alternatives put forward by the French media include former minister Francois Baroin, head of the Ile-de-France region around Paris, Valérie Pécresse, or ex-health minister Xavier Bertrand.
Former Bordeaux mayor Alain Juppe is being tipped as a possible replacement for Fillon
Fillon is reported to have paid his British wife around £700,000 (€830,000) as a parliamentary assistant, which could be considered a “misuse of public funds” if prosecutors find she had not actually done any work for him.
The allegations, brought by investigative paper Le Canard Enchaîné, were made greater on Wednesday when the publication revealed Fillon had paid almost £70,000 (€82,000) to two of his children when he was a senator.