Recall that Fillon pledged to drop out of the campaign if a formal investigation against him was announced.
Today, a formal investigation into “Penelopegate” was announced, but instead of dropping out, he attacked the judicial system.
François Fillon has vowed to fight on as a candidate in France’s presidential election despite being told he would be placed under formal investigation over allegedly arranging fictitious jobs for his wife.
Mr. Fillon once vowed to withdraw from the race if a formal judicial inquiry was launched. But after summoning senior figures from the centre-right Republicans for urgent consultations on his faltering campaign, Mr. Fillon held a news conference to denounce the investigation, calling it a “political assassination” and a challenge to the democratic process.
“I will not give up,” he said. “I will not surrender. I will not withdraw.”
Bruno Le Maire, a former minister who ran against Mr. Fillon for the presidential nomination, resigned as Mr. Fillon’s foreign policy spokesman because of the broken promise to withdraw from the race. Keeping one’s word “is essential to the credibility of politics”, Mr. Le Maire said. Several other Republican MPs joined the criticism.
Penelopegate refers to €880,000 Fillon paid his wife and children over a period of 10 years from parliament funds. There is no record of his wife, Penelope, ever doing any work. His kids were in school.
Fillon is running on a platform of personal integrity.
A few days ago Fillon was said to have been given a reprieve. The consensus was an investigation was unlikely before the election. For details, please see Le Pen Follows Trump Social Media Tactics, Fillon Wins Investigation Reprieve.
The reprieve notion dies today.
The next set of polls might change dramatically after this announcement today.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock