Back in the November 2016, the French polls favoured one Republican candidate, Francois Fillon. He vowed to do his utmost to deepen public spending and increase wealth-tax cuts. However, his chances of winning the first and upcoming April presidential election, look quite grim now. Pollster predicts a deep incline of voter preference for the Les Républicains candidate in Spring. Recent rumours surrounding his wife, Penelope Fillon, are the culprit.
The weekly satiric newsprint of Le Canard Enchaîné are to blame (or thank?) for this. Fillon is currently under investigation for paying his wife more than she was due back in 1988 while she was working as a parliamentary aide. The amount in question is that of €831,440. Though, the allegations do not stop here. His children in turn, received around €83,735 between 2002 and 2007 working Fillon’s assistants while he filled the role as a senator. They provided him with legal advice — though none had the practice or training of a lawyer yet. Fillon’s conservative family values shine a light here. But, quite ironically, of course. In doing this, his family members were put on the public payroll… the very same one he wants to slash. He will only back down if evidence of his corruptions are found, he told reporters following a five hour grilling and an investigation of Fillon’s parliamentary offices.
Though, as I like to believe, no allegation is completely fiction. Fillon’s integrity as a candidate and as an MP are undeniably jeopardised. However, this is not the first time his party has been under fire for allegations of corruption. Remember former French president Nicolas Sarkozy — that guy, the one charged with €50m in illegal campaign financing from the now deceased Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi. Or better yet, the more recent scandal of former Prime Minister Alain Juppé, accused of embezzling public funds for his own personal gains (shocker, I never heard of a politician doing this before). Without Fillon, the conservatives do not stand much of a chance in the election.
They must either force Fillon to back down and start the search for a new candidate, or simply, give up. When considering both options, if no conservative contender were to run, the fate of the country would rely upon that of the socialist Emmanuel Macron, or nationalist Marine Le Pen. The former vows to place less pressure on labor-laws, whilst Le Pen, well, she’s the lovechild of Nigel Farage and Donald Trump. There’s also Benoit Hamon — the French Bernie Sanders — but even so, his chances of winning are incredibly slim.