France election: Fillon loses support of allied party in fresh blow

France election: Fillon loses support of allied party in fresh blow

March 4: French far-right leader and a prospective presidential candidate, Marine Le Pen, has been summoned by judges over allegations of misusing European Union funds.

Standing as an independent centrist, Macron is tipped by opinion polls to defeat far-right leader Marine Le Pen in a run-off vote in May.

Under French law, the maximum penalty for distributing violent images is three years in prison and a fine of up to €75,000 (£64,000).

But he has since been hit by a series of allegations that he paid his British-born wife Penelope and his children hundreds of thousands of euros since 1988 for allegedly fake parliamentary jobs.

Before the vote, Le Pen defended her tweets, saying she just wanted to condemn the barbaric practices of IS, also known as Daesh.

Le Pen, a leading candidate in this year's French presidential election, posted her tweets in response to a journalist who drew an analogy between her anti-immigration National Front party and IS extremists.

French investigators have searched the Paris home of conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon, reports say.

Le Pen, 48, leads the pack as she has consistently since mid-January with 27 percent. She denies wrongdoing and claims that they are a plot to derail her campaign.

Not surprisingly, Mr. Macron's sensible if unconventional liberalism has made him a target for Russia's state propaganda apparatus, which having done its best to tip the USA election to Mr. Trump is now attempting to empower Ms. Le Pen. If Fillon was replaced by Juppe, the new Republican candidate would be on track to lead in the first round of voting, according to Odoxa.

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Fillon will mark his 63rd birthday on Saturday, but a day that his entourage would once have feted for France's president-in-waiting has been soured.

In an upbeat online video message urging supporters to attend Sunday's rally, Fillon said only he could "restore France's strength".

Le Pen's chief of staff was detained by police on February 22 as part of a formal investigation that Catherine Grist, the chief of staff, and Le Pen's lead security detail, Theirty Legier, had received improper payment originating from European Union coffers.

MORE met with French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron on Friday.

Le Pen - whose candidacy has not suffered from her legal woes - dismissed the investigation as "political maneuvering".

Fillon's increasingly provocative rhetoric provoked a slap from President Francois Hollande this week.

The allegations against Fillon are particularly damaging after he campaigned as a sleaze-free reformer ready to administer a "radical" economic overhaul and cut wasteful public spending.

She has no doubt that this is precisely what will happen.

Current polls suggest Macron and Le Pen have the best chances of finishing on top in the first round vote, followed by Fillon, and that Macron would easily win the runoff.

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