Former President Nicolas Sarkozy and former Prime Minister Alain Juppé, both members of Les Republicains, and candidates for the party’s nomination for the upcoming elections, met on Saturday to discuss Francois Fillon’s floundering campaign.
The scandal surrounding Fillon’s campaign, in which he allegedly paid his wife for fake work around the office, has not disappeared, and caused a sudden plunge in polls. Whereas he was once the clear favourite to beat Marine Le Pen of the National Front in the second round of voting, he is now not even seen as making it to the second round, losing to the centrist independent candidate Emmanuel Macron.
Fillon has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, and called the charges surrounding his wife “character assassination.” Both his home and his parliamentary office have since been raided in search of evidence, and the scandal has caused numerous right-wing leaders to recant their endorsement of him, with many calling for him to step aside.
Fillon has resisted these efforts, stating on Twitter that “France deserves our courage,” as his supporters attempt to show that he still has support.
Sarkozy and Juppé, who lost the Les Republicains nomination to Fillon, held a meeting on Saturday night, with a conservative source stating Sarkozy would issue a statement the following day calling for Fillon to be replaced by Juppé as the candidate.
The first round of the French Presidential elections will be held on April 23, with the second round of voting on May 7.