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COMING UP:Share Opener Variant 4



>> Embattled candidate Francois Fillon appealing to voters ahead of May's French presidential election on Wednesday. Writing in a weekly column that he won't give in to intimidation and will stand to face the judgement of the French people. The former prime minister has already apologized over accusations he paid his wife taxpayer's money for work she might not have done.
Now he's fighting back says Reuters in Paris.>> While Fillon's legal team clearly changed its strategy this week. At first, his lawyers and Fillon himself were focusing on the allegations, but on Monday there was a clear shift. Fillon's lawyer started directly attacking the legitimacy of the financial prosecutor conducting the investigation and he called the investigation void.
>> But it may not be enough as fresh allegations arise. French satirical weekly Canard enchaine Tuesday reporting that his wife also received severance pay for what it says was a fake job.>> Right now, it seems unlikely that Fillon will have to bow out of this race. Over the past few days, and especially over the weekend, Francois Fillon has managed to rally his party behind him.
And second, no clear alternative candidate has emerged.>> The scandal has cost Fillon his frontrunner position in the presidential race. Centrist Independent Emmanuel Macron overtaking him. But this week, he too faced media allegations, forcefully denied, that he had a gay extra marital affair. All the while, Far Right candidate Marine Le Pen riding a wave of popularity.
Polls saying she'll get through to the presidential run-off, but not win it. Neither Fillon nor Macron's scandals have proven fatal yet. But they don't hurt Le Pen, or her anti-immigration National Front party, either.