Francois Fillon's stuttering campaign has allowed Le Pen to surge into the lead
The centre-right candidate was told to find a “political solution” to his ongoing problems which has seen the former frontrunner drop to third position in recent polls.
After Fillon met a group of dissenting MPs in Paris on Monday, Les Républicains MP Alain Gest said: “We need to find a political solution that matches what is at stake because we can easily find ourselves in the absolutely incredible position where our political family would be absent from the [presidential election’s] second round, and that is not acceptable.”
The dissenters had gathered around 40 signatures from elected officials but Fillon hit back, urging party members to rally behind his campaign and respect his conservative primary election win in November, reported Politico.
A journalist from Le Figaro quoted Fillon as saying: “I need you to help me. We are in this campaign and we can win it.
Candidates for the 2017 French Presidential Election Mon, January 30, 2017
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“I am harassed by the press and harassed by the judicial system.
“I don’t need on top of this to be harassed by parliament.”
Fillon’s ‘on-the-ground’ support has reportedly suffered too – originally branded one of the strongest parts of his campaign, an unnamed party member said Fillon’s scandal had left supporters so demoralised they were now refusing to carry out Les Républicains orders.
Fillon tried to reboot his campaign during a visit to Reunion at the weekend
There is no real campaign to speak of
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Les Républicains party member
He said plans to distribute a “letter to the French people” failed because disillusioned activists simply refused to hand out the flyers.
“Car trunks are full of these things … People spent the afternoon at the café instead.
“They [Fillon’s campaign managers] are pressing the button, but nothing is happening because the button is broken.
Marine Le Pen visited a market in Nice as she tries to gather further support
“There is no real campaign to speak of.”
The news comes as Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron are leading the way in the polls, with the Front National leader receiving 25 per cent of the vote according to the latest Ifop-Fiducial poll.
Fillon’s campaign suffered seemingly irreparable damage after news emerged that the MP allegedly paid his wife and children huge sums of parliamentary funds for work they may not have ever carried out.
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