PARIS (Sputnik) – On Saturday, Juppe, who lost second round of the center-right primaries in November, and Sarkozy met to consider the solution to the crisis, and a day later Fillon ruled out any possibility of withdrawing from the race.
"Faced with the gravity of the situation … everyone should do whatever it takes to preserve unity, which is a condition for changeover. Our division will give a rise to extreme right. It is in this spirit that I propose to Francois Fillon and Alain Juppe to meet to find a decent and credible way out of the situation that cannot last anymore," Sarkozy said in a statement.
Fillon lost much of public support due to fake job scandal that broke out in late January around his wife allegedly having been paid from state funds for jobs without exercising her duties.
OpinionWay poll’s results showed on March 3 that far-right National Front (FN) party leader Marine Le Pen was most likely to win the first round of the presidential elections, scheduled for April 23, with 27 percent. However, the FN politician is expected to be defeated in May run-off elections to either Fillon or independent candidate Emmanuel Macron, who are projected to win respectively 57 and 62 percent of the votes if they stand against Le Pen.