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Bridging The Gap
 Fillon France election: Candidate makes fighting speech at rally
 Sunday 05 March, 2017
Fillon France election: Candidate makes fighting speech at rally

Beleaguered French presidential candidate Francois Fillon has urged supporters to fight on, in a speech to a mass rally in Paris.

He told tens of thousands of supporters, many waving tricolour flags, that he would be cleared over allegations he paid his wife and children for work they did not do.

The rally is seen as a crucial test of his popularity.

Calls are growing for him to quit and senior allies have left his campaign.

And just before the rally Christian Estrosi, a close ally of former President Nicolas Sarkozy, told BFM TV that senior Republicans would propose an alternative candidate in the coming hours.

However, he said it was important "not to humiliate" Mr Fillon and allow him a "dignified" way out.

Mr Fillon has seen his popularity slip in opinion polls.

The Republican party will hold crisis talks on the candidacy on Monday.

But in a rousing speech to supporters in driving rain, Mr Fillon urged his supporters not to give up the fight and thanked them for their support.

Referring to his opponents, he said: "They think I'm alone, they want me to be alone. Are we alone? Thank you for your presence."

He said he would be exonerated when an impending criminal investigation got under way, and it would be the turn of his accusers to feel ashamed.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39171798

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