The 62-year-old has categorically refused to give up his bid to be the next French president despite being caught up in an inquiry into alleged misuse of public funds.
Under-fire French presidential candidate Francois Fillon has refused to give up his bid for election.
It has been a turbulent day in his campaign.
In the morning, Fillon cancelled a high-profile visit to France’s main agricultural show, prompting feverish speculation.
Statement coming at 1200 CET from— Catherine Hardy (@fernojay) 1 mars 2017
FrancoisFillon</a>, no steer so far but plenty of speculation, <a href="https://twitter.com/euronews">euronews will be covering
Speaking from his Paris HQ, a defiant Fillon surprised everyone by vowing to continue:
“I will not give up, I will not surrender, I will not withdraw. I will be in this until the bitter end, because it is not just me who is under threat, it is democracy itself. I am asking you to be with me. This is not about me, My rights or my innocence, it is about you.”
Why did Fillon say this?
The 62-year-old is caught up in a scandal over the alleged misuse of public funds.
During the press conference, Fillon said will be questioned on the 15th of March in connection with claims members of his family were given bogus jobs, paid for with taxpayers’ money.
It is alleged his Welsh-born wife, Penelope was paid more than 600 thousand euros over 15 years for working as her husband’s parliamentary assistant when this was not the case.
Francois Fillon has denied any wrongdoing.
What else did Fillon say?
Making a hastily-arranged statement from his party headquarters in Paris at midday, Fillon said:
- That he would not give up his presidential campaign
- That he will be questioned on March 15 in connection with the inquiry
- He denied any wrongdoing
- That only the French people can decide the future of the country, not the media, political or judicial community
- That he believes strongly in his vision for France
Developments on Wednesday
- Fillon cancels visit to high-profile agricultural show
- Meets with senior members of his political party
- Reuters quotes French media reports that Penelope Fillon is being questioned in connection with the inquiry
- Presidential primary rival Alain Juppe widely reported to be with Fillon as he makes a statement at midday. This turned out to be not the case.
Confusion totale quand l'équipe de Fillon découvre en direct le report de sa visite au Salon de l'agriculture https://t.co/PdX3e6HQvLpic.twitter.com/bYdq14i2xO— franceinfo (@franceinfo) 1 mars 2017
Francois Fillon’s campaign team seem to be unaware that his visit to the Agricultural Show in Paris was being rescheduled.
De nombreux ténors sont actuellement au QG de campagne de François #Fillon à Paris. Notre direct https://t.co/yuzFH3VtBWpic.twitter.com/lGaiiU7qL9— franceinfo (@franceinfo) 1 mars 2017
Political figures arrive at Fillon’s campaign headquarters ahead of his midday statement.
Selon nos informations, #Fillon est convoqué par les juges d'instruction aux fins de mise en examen le 15 mars https://t.co/chYQh0BXBS— Le Monde (@lemondefr) 1 mars 2017
French newspaper Le Monde claims sources say Fillon himself is to be questioned in connection with the bogus jobs inquiry.
Un peu de monde pour Fillon… Pas de questions prévues à la fin de la déclaration pic.twitter.com/cDippq4cq8— Matgoa (@Matgoa) 1 mars 2017
The room is packed with journalists waiting for Fillon to make his statement.
J'ai préparé le coup au cas où #Presidentielle2017pic.twitter.com/ocbUyu88ea— Jean-Marie Pottier (@jmpottier) 1 mars 2017
A wag draws comparisons with Sunday’s Oscars gaffe after reports rival Alain Juppe would accompany Fillon as he made his statement.