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French centrists may still back Fillon despite scandal

© Guillaume Souvant / AFP | French presidential election candidate François Fillon delivers a speech during a campaign meeting in Orleans, central France, on March 7, 2017.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-03-08

France's centrist UDI party hinted on Tuesday it could back François Fillon's presidential bid, but said it first wanted to see him take concrete steps to unite his much-divided camp.

Earlier on Tuesday, a top UDI lawmaker said the party - which last week suspended its participation in Fillon's campaign over a financial scandal and called for a change of candidate - would rally behind Fillon.

But the final statement from the UDI was much more guarded.

"We take note of Francois Fillon's ... decision to continue his campaign and his pledge to take initiatives to bridge divisions with the UDI.... We are waiting to see those initiatives," the UDI's executive committee said.

The statement also said the UDI, a much smaller party than The Republicans, would stick by an electoral deal of alliance with them for the parliamentary elections in June that follow the April-May presidential vote.

Fillon on Monday successfully fought off a rebellion within The Republicans that had threatened to end his candidacy for the presidency, as party leaders swung behind him.

(REUTERS)

Date created : 2017-03-07

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