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Embattled Fillon gets backing from party leaders

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(6 Mar 2017) After an emergency meeting on Monday evening, French conservative leaders said they "unanimously" backed embattled French presidential candidate Francois Fillon.Speaking at the political committee of the Republicans, candidate Fillon called on his party's leaders to unite behind his presidential bid despite impending corruption charges.The urgent meeting was called to discuss the deep divisions in the conservative party.Fillon, promising tougher security and pro-business economic reforms, shot up and wrested the conservative primary from former Prime Minister Alain Juppe in November.That made Fillon the front-runner in polls - until January, when he was accused of arranging taxpayer-funded jobs for his wife and two of his children that they never performed. He insists the jobs were not fake, but Fillon now faces possible charges on March 15.With polls repeatedly suggesting that Fillon would be eliminated from the race in the first round, many conservative lawmakers had called on the more moderate Juppe to run in Fillon's place.But Juppe on Monday ruled himself out as a candidate.In hopes of saving the conservatives, former President Nicolas Sarkozy has been trying to play kingmaker - even though he lost the presidency in 2012, came an embarrassing third in the party primary for this year's race, and has faced his own campaign financing scandals.Sarkozy said on Monday he wants to gather Fillon and Juppe together for a meeting, which Bernard Accoyer, former President of the National Assembly, suggested would be going ahead.You can license this story through AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/you... Find out more about AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/HowWeWork

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AP Archive 4084541 508719a1a0f56a22203e615fbb9283ce France Fillon Alain Juppe Francois Fillon Nicolas Sarkozy Paris France Western Europe Government and politics
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