French rightwing presidential candidate Francois Fillon said on Wednesday (Mar 15) he had the backing of angry voters after being charged with misusing public money, as scandals rather than policy continue to dominate the campaign. “There’s been a manipulation of events against me with one objective: to stop me being a candidate in the presidential election,” Fillon told Radio Classique, again denying allegations his wife was paid from public funds for a fake job. “There’s a very strong movement going on. There’s anger among voters on the right and in the centre who don’t want to see their election stolen.” The comments came as new problems piled up for the presidential contenders, with almost daily revelations in the press and fresh legal investigations creating a cloud of suspicion overhanging the two-round vote in April and May.
Far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen confirmed to AFP on Tuesday that tax authorities were pursuing her and her father, former party leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, over the value of their family properties.
The anti-immigration, anti-EU leader faces several other investigations into campaign financing and the misuse of money at the European Parliament, where she has a seat.
And after Fillon was charged on Tuesday, the Paris prosecutors’ office opened a preliminary enquiry into a state-financed event attended by centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron last year while he was a minister.