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alain juppe

Former French PM Alain Juppe has no intention to replace under-fire presidential hopeful Francois Fillon, despite pressure to do so.

Francois Fillon has denied allegations that members of his family were paid taxpayers’ money for fictitious jobs.

He has lost support within the center-right party and in opinion polls ahead of the first round of voting in April.

Alain Juppe, seen as his most likely replacement, attacked his rival’s “obstinacy” but said he would not run.

According to opinion polls, Alain Juppe would have progressed into the second round of the election. Francois Fillon is not projected to make it past the first round.

They have been rumbling on for more than a month now – and the longer they have gone on, the more Francois Fillon has dug in (seemingly at the expense of his own chances of the presidency).

The former prime minister has fought allegations that his Welsh-born wife, Penelope, was paid for a number of years for work that she did not do as his parliamentary assistant.

Image source Wikimedia

However, Penelope Fillon, who insists she did work for her husband, told French magazine Journal du Dimanche last week that “everything was legal and declared”.

Also under scrutiny are claims that two of Francois Fillon’ children, Marie and Charles, were paid by their father’s office for legal work even though they had not yet qualified as lawyers.

At a mass rally in Paris on March 5, Francois Fillon told tens of thousands of supporters, once again, that he would fight on.

However, key members of his campaign team have abandoned him and several leading Republicans have wavered in their support.

Alain Juppe, like Francois Fillon a former prime minister, did not hold back against any of the leading candidates on March 6.

However, he reserved his angriest comments for Francois Fillon, whose talk of a plot, and criticism of judges and the media, “has led him into a dead-end”.

“What a waste,” he said.

The pressure on Francois Fillon is likely to grow next week, when he is due to appear before a judge to be placed under formal investigation for embezzlement.

In the short-term, Francois Fillon’s party will hold a unity summit on March 6, a meeting he has been urged to attend.

His drop in favorability and Alain Juppe’s decision look like clearing the way for the young centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron to battle it out against Marine Le Pen in the second round. Polls give him a clear edge over the National Front candidate.

A big question mark now hangs over former President Nicolas Sarkozy. Defeated in the first Republican primary by Alain Juppe and Francois Fillon, he had called for an emergency meeting between the three of them.

Francois Fillon has won the conservative candidacy in the 2017 French presidential election after his rival Alain Juppe admitted defeat.

With virtually all the results counted, Francois Fillon had won November 27 run-off with nearly 67% of the vote.

He said action was now needed to build a fairer society.

Francois Fillon is likely to face a Socialist candidate and the far-right’s Marine Le Pen in next April’s election.

Image source Wikimedia

Image source Wikimedia

“My approach has been understood,” he told his supporters after the result of the Republican party primary became clear.

“France can’t bear its decline. It was truth and it wants action.”

Alain Juppe, the more moderate candidate, congratulated Francois Fillon on his “large victory” and pledged to support him in his bid to become president.

With votes from 9,334 of the 10,229 polling stations counted, Francois Fillon won 66.9% while Alain Juppe had 33.1%.

Francois Fillon, 62, had been widely expected to win the race, after securing 44% of the vote in the first round a week ago that saw former President Nicolas Sarkozy knocked out.

A former prime minister under Nicolas Sarkozy, Francois Fillon is a Catholic who is seen as a traditionalist on issues such as abortion and gay marriage.

Francois Fillon is proposing dramatic economic reforms that include slashing 500,000 public jobs, ending the 35-hour week, raising the retirement age and scrapping the wealth tax.

Alain Juppe, also a former prime minister, had initially been seen as the favorite to win the race, but struggled against Francois Fillon’s strong performances in the primary debates.

France’s former President Nicolas Sarkozy has been knocked out of the first round of the conservatives’ primary to choose the presidential candidate of the center-right Republican party.

Admitting defeat, Nicolas Sarkozy endorsed Francois Fillon, a moderate who finished first in November 20 first round, according to near-complete results.

Nicolas Sarkozy has announced his return to French politics

Nicolas Sarkozy has announced his return to French politics

Alain Juppe, who like Francois Fillon is an ex-prime minister, finished second.

They will face each other in a run-off on November 27. The winner will compete in next year’s presidential election.

The winner of the Republican primary is likely to make the presidential run-off, where he or she will probably face far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

With the governing socialists unpopular and divided, it seems unlikely that any left-wing candidate will survive the first round in April.

Polls currently suggest that the center-right candidate would win the second round in May.

A vote to decide who will lead France’s conservative opposition UMP has plunged the party into disarray and acrimony.

Both candidates, Jean-Francois Cope and Francois Fillon, have claimed victory and accused their rival of fraud and ballot-stuffing.

Only a handful of votes separate right-wing candidate Jean-Francois Cope and ex-Prime Minister Francois Fillon.

A final result is expected later on Monday, but party grandees said the UMP had been damaged, and urged both candidates to end their war or words.

“The movement has emerged divided and thus weakened by this excessive confrontation,” wrote the former prime minister and foreign minister, Alain Juppe, in his blog.

“Throughout the campaign, it has been less a question of the future of the UMP and more about the two candidates’ obsession with 2017 the date of the next presidential election.

“We have to get out of this lamentable situation to avoid the implosion of our party.”

Alain Juppe called on both Jean-Francois Cope, the party’s secretary general since 2010 and Francois Fillon, prime minister under Nicolas Sarkozy, to “accept the decision of the electoral commission when it is delivered”.

Jean-Francois Cope and Francois Fillon have claimed victory in France’ opposition election and accused their rival of fraud and ballot-stuffing

Jean-Francois Cope and Francois Fillon have claimed victory in France’ opposition election and accused their rival of fraud and ballot-stuffing

When initial results emerged late on Sunday, Jean-Francois Cope was narrowly in the lead, surprising political pundits who had expected the former prime minister to win. Opinion polls had consistently given Francois Fillon the edge.

The contest has been bitterly fought throughout by the two rivals and, even before the result came through in the southern coastal city of Nice, Jean-Francois Cope’s team complained of fraud and demanded an investigation.

A UMP deputy mayor backing Jean-Francois Cope said that there had been “a certain number of irregularities” in polling stations in the Alpes-Maritimes area. In one polling station in Paris, a party official complained that there were 40 more ballots than voters on the party list.

Francois Fillon’s team also registered a complaint.

The leading conservative daily newspaper, Le Figaro, called the election an open crisis and French political analysts say the immediate beneficiary of the vote could be the far-right National Front, whose candidate, Marine Le Pen, polled third in the presidential election in April.

The UMP was only created 10 years ago by President Jacques Chirac to unite the diverse wings of the French right.

The party was very much his personal fiefdom until he retired from politics in 2007 and was succeeded by Nicolas Sarkozy.

The two candidates have different visions for the party.

Jean-Francois Cope is considered more right wing. Last month he produced “A Manifesto for an Uninhibited Right” in which he claimed that gangs in the city suburbs were fostering “anti-white racism”.

Francois Fillon is seen as sober and more restrained.

The winner will inherit a party in difficult financial straits, after a series of electoral setbacks over the past five years, culminating in Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidential defeat to Socialist rival Francois Hollande.

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