Investigators search Fillon’s house
Investigators have searched the house of French presidential candidate Francois Fillon as part of an investigation into payments made to his wife, Le Parisien newspaper reported, citing unidentified sources.
The financial prosecutor’s office declined comment.
The news on Thursday came as further cracks appeared in Fillon’s campaign, a day after news that he faces a formal investigation for allegations he misused public funds.
A flash opinion poll by Harris Interactive on Thursday showed that only 25 per cent of people now want him to continue as a candidate, down from 35 per cent a month ago, while within his party there were more resignations after his decision on Wednesday to stay in the race.
While Fillon campaigned in southern France on Thursday ahead of a rally in the city of Nimes, poll favourite Emmanuel Macron announced his full centrist manifesto and far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen was due to give a presentation on the role of the French state in the economy.
With less than two months to go to the April 23 first round vote, polls point to a second-round showdown on May 7 between Macron and Le Pen that Macron would win.
One of the first opinion polls partly taken after Fillon’s legal woes deepened on Wednesday showed his support dipping below 20 per cent for the first time in a week.
Fillon already suffered a blow on Wednesday when adviser Bruno Le Maire quit his campaign in protest against his decision to fight on.
On Thursday, deputy campaign director Sebastien Lecornu and adviser Vincent Le Roux followed Le Maire’s lead, along with a number of more junior campaign staff.
Sources said there was a strong push by some in the party to have former prime minister Alain Juppe run, but the plan was vetoed by Nicolas Sarkozy, the former president.
the forces are moving to make macron the only viable option to le pen..keep watching..