Heavyweight centrist Francois Bayrou joined calls on Sunday for French presidential candidate Francois Fillon to withdraw from the race, as his own conservative camp mounted pressure on the back of a deepening financial scandal around his family.
Fillon, 62, has seen his approval ratings slide since satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchaine reported on Jan. 25 he had paid his wife hundreds of thousands of euros of parliamentary money for work she may not have done.
Bayrou has yet to endorse a candidate. A respected figure, he has run unsuccessfully for president three times in the past and carries a core vote of about 6 percent. He said he would not align with the centre-right if Fillon remained candidate.
"He has no other alternative," Bayrou told media outlets Le Grand Jury RTL-Le Figaro-LCI on Sunday when asked if Fillon should drop his bid.