Keyword: 2017 French presidential elections

French presidential candidate Fillon formally placed under investigation in fraud case

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François Fillon. © Reuters François Fillon. © Reuters

The French conservative party’s presidential candidate, François Fillon, was on Tuesday formally placed under investigation for the suspected fraudulent payments made by him out of public funds to his wife and two of his children who he employed as parliamentary assistants. While the move was widely expected, it is a major new blow for the former prime minister who was the election frontrunner until the alleged fake jobs scandal emerged in January. Meanwhile, further press revelations since the weekend include the disclosure that his children paid him regular sums of money from their salaries as his assistant, and that a mysterious benefactor has gifted him over the past five years with luxury clothing worth more than 48,000 euros.

Fillon deserters plead for Plan B, but the election clock is ticking

Some French conservatives want Alain Juppé to replace Fillon as presidential candidate but the election rules mean time is fast running out.

Allies start to desert him as Fillon vows to stay in election

Latest opinion poll shows that only 25 percent of people now want right-winger to continue as a candidate, as senior supporters jump ship.

Latest French election polls show Macron easily beating Le Pen

Two opinion polls on voting intentions published on Sunday gave maverick centrist presidential election candidate Emmanuel Macron a comfortable second-round win over the far-right's Marine Le Pen, suggesting the former economy minister has been boosted by his recent alliance with centre-right veteran François Bayrou.

The Penelope Fillon mystery

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The cover story of this week’s edition of Paris-Match is a portrait of Penelope Fillon, the British wife of the French conservative presidential candidate François Fillon. The article was clearly an attempt by François Fillon’s public relations team to dampen the scandal which has dented his campaign after it was revealed he paid his wife and two of his children out of parliamentary funds for work it is alleged was never carried out. But, writes Mediapart poltical analyst Hubert Huertas, the portrait of the central but mute character in the affair has in fact simply served to increase the mystery surrounding Penelope Fillon and the unease over her image as her husband’s “mute muse”.

Violent scenes at Nantes protest against far-right leader's visit

A protest in the town of Nantes, north-west France, by more than two thousand people against a planned visit there on Sunday by Front National presidential candidate Marine Le Pen ended in ugly confrontations with police, during which businesses were vandalised and several officers injured.

In corruption-hit French elections, scandal rolls off Le Pen's back

While support for the early favourite to win this spring's presidential election, conservative candidate François Fillon, has slumped over allegations of providing fake jobs for his family, a separate fake jobs scandal surrounding far-right frontrunner Marine Le Pen appears to have so far caused little damage to her campaign.

Le Pen refuses to be questioned over 'fake jobs' probe before elections

French far-right Front National party leader and presidential election frontrunner Marine Le Pen, implicated in an alleged scam to pay party workers with European Parliament funds, said she will not attend a French magistrate's summons for questioning over the affair before the end of the elections in May.

Euro slips on financial markets fears over French and Dutch elections

The spot market appears to be bracing itself for the possibility that a higher than estimated score for French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen in the first round vote may drive the euro lower despite the low odds of her winning the final round.

Deutsche Bank warns Frexit would surpass Lehman Brothers crisis

If France left the European Union and eurozone, as championed by far-right presidential election frontrunner Marine Le Pen, the ensuing breakup of Europe's economic and monetary union 'has the potential to go beyond a Lehman's moment' and would be a 'nightmare', according to analysts at Deutsche Bank.

Net tightens around French far-right leader Le Pen in EU 'fake jobs' probe

The chief of staff and senior bodyguard of France's far-right Front National party leader and presidential election candidate Marine Le Pen were on Wednesday questioned in police custody as part of an investigation into alleged fraudulent payments made to them by Le Pen out of European Parliament funds dedicated to remunerating parliamentary assistants. Le Pen's chief of staff, Catherine Griset, was later placed under formal investigation. The case, which mirrors the scandal surrounding conservative presidential candidate François Fillon, now threatens to become more than a severe embarrassment to Le Pen, one of the frontrunners in the election, whose campaign hinges on her image as an anti-establishment alternative to a corrupt political class.

Amnesty International head urges France to stick to its values

Amnesty International Secretary-General Salil Shetty, presenting the NGO's yearly report, has called on France to resist 'all that hateful rhetoric against Muslims and migrants' in the current presidential election campaign, urging that citizens 'stay true' to the 'values of human rights' on which he said the country's republic was founded.

Centrist Bayrou forms presidential election alliance with Macron

Veteran French centre-right politician François Bayrou, who has stood in three previous presidential elections, announced on Wednesday he was backing the candidacy of maverick centrist Emmanuel Macron, one of the frontrunners in the elections this spring, a move which the latter described as 'a turning point in the campaign'.

Le Pen cancels meeting with Lebanon's grand mufti over headscarf

French far-right presidential election candidate Marine Le Pen, on a visit to Lebanon where she has met with a number of officials, cancelled her planned meeting with the head of the Lebanese Sunni Muslim authority Dar al-Fatwa, after she refused to wear a headscarf when she arrived for the encounter, despite having been previously notified of the requirement.

Macron meets May in London, calls on UK 'talented' to move to France

Maverick centrist presidential election candidate Emmanuel Macron, predicted by polls as a favourite to win the spring elections, visited London on Tuesday where he met with British Prime Minister Theresa May said he planned 'a series of initiatives to get talented people in research and lots of fields working here to come to France' after Brexit.