France: Fillon's chief spokesman quits campaign

At least 75 MPs have walked away from conservative presidential candidate’s campaign

France: Fillon's chief spokesman quits campaign

World Bulletin / News Desk

The chief spokesman of French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon announced his resignation on Friday following the summons the former prime minister received from magistrates over a phony jobs probe.

Dozens of conservative MPs have walked away from Fillon's campaign since Wednesday when he revealed he had been summoned over allegations he provided bogus parliamentary jobs for members of his family.

"I have decided to end my role as spokesman of Francois Fillon," Thierry Solere, also the organizer of the right-wing primary in which Fillon had secured a landslide victory over Alain Juppe, said on his Twitter account.

At least 75 MPs walked away from the conservative candidate’s campaign, French newspaper Liberation reported on Friday.

Police raided his home in Paris on Thursday. His parliamentary office was similarly searched last month.

The conservative candidate insisted on Wednesday he would not quit the race despite being summoned to appear before magistrates on March 15, likely to be formally charged.

A key ally Bruno Le Maire resigned as his adviser on international affairs right after the statement, saying the candidate had gone back on his word to withdraw from the election if he was placed under formal investigation.

The former prime minister had earlier said he would quit the race if a formal investigation against him was opened. He has denied any wrongdoing and has said he will cooperate with the judiciary.

The allegations, dating back to January, were made by the investigative weekly Le Canard Enchaine.

The weekly claimed, citing pay slips, that Fillon had paid about €1 million ($1.08 million) out of public funds to his wife and two children as parliamentary assistant and legal consultants, respectively.

Although it is legal for French lawmakers to hire family members as parliamentary assistants, Le Canard Enchaine cast doubts over whether his wife Penelope actually performed aide duties.

A primary investigation was launched after the first report came out on Jan. 25. It was later widened to include two of the Fillons' five children, Marie and Charles. 


Güncelleme Tarihi: 03 Mart 2017, 16:35