French conservative candidate Francois Fillon said Sunday “no one” could stop him standing in the presidential election despite calls from within his own party to quit over an expenses scandal.
“No one today can prevent me being a candidate,” Fillon said in a TV interview in which he again said a probe into allegations he gave his wife a highly-paid fake parliamentary job was politically motivated.
“Of course it is aimed at stopping me being a candidate,” Fillon said of the probe in which he is to be charged on March 15. Asked if he would bow to calls from within his own Republicans party to withdraw, Fillon said: “My answer is ‘no’.”
Fillon was the frontrunner in the race until the fake jobs allegations were made in mid-January.
He has since lost support and polls currently show he risks being knocked out in the first round on April 23 with far-right leader Marine Le Pen and 39-year-old centrist Emmanuel Macron progressing to the runoff two weeks later.