French Socialist Party Tells Fillon He Must Quit Presidential Race

Macron Leads the Pack Following First French Debate

The Socialist Party said rival candidate Francois Fillon must abandon his campaign to become France’s next president because of the growing list of scandals he’s facing.

“The list of facts against you is long, very long, way too long,” the Socialists wrote on the party web site Wednesday. “The relentless flow of accusations creates such noise that it prevents any calm debate on our country’s future.”

The Republican Fillon, who is already facing criminal charges over his family finances, was hit by two new revelations this week. Prosecutors have asked judges investigating graft allegations against the candidate to widen their inquiries to include charges of fraud, forgery and falsification of records, while Le Canard Enchaine reported Tuesday that Fillon earned 50,000 euros ($54,000) in 2015 arranging for a Lebanese billionaire to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Fillon is running third in the race, behind Nationalist Marine Le Pen and independent Emmanuel Macron, after seeing his support slump since reports that he’d given his wife a fake job as his parliamentary aide surfaced in January.

The Socialists’ own candidate Benoit Hamon is also in trouble, slipping to fifth position in a poll by Elabe for L’Express magazine on Wednesday. Hamon has complained that the focus on Fillon’s financial affairs has prevented him getting a fair hearing for his policy proposals.

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