Once known for his clean image, he has been engulfed by a scandalby Jim Wolfreys / February 8, 2017 / Leave a comment
After winning the nomination as presidential candidate for the mainstream right Les Républicains party last November, it seemed that all François Fillon had to do was to wait for the campaign to end on 7th May. According to the polls he would easily see off the challenge from Marine Le Pen’s Front National (FN) in the second round. Then he could begin dealing with the huge sums being wasted on public sector jobs and social security and put an end to the “utopian” 35 hour week.
Fillon’s primary victory over longstanding adversaries Alain Juppé and Nicolas Sarkozy was largely attributed to his upright image. Juppé already had a criminal conviction for his role in an illegal party funding operation, while the net appeared to be closing in on Sarkozy for his part in an even bigger scandal. Fillon had repeatedly underlined the need for absolute probity in a presidential candidate, directing a well-aimed put-down at his rivals: “Can you imagine De Gaulle being put under investigation?”
He has since been engulfed by controversy following revelations by the satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné that his wife Penelope was paid over €800,000 as parliamentary assistant to himself and another deputy, Marc Joulaud, over a 15 year period. Two of the Fillons’ children were also employed by their father from the public purse, to the tune of €84,000.
No hard evidence has yet come to light about what Penelope Fillon did to justify her salary. She allegedly never owned a card to gain access to the National Assembly and there seems to be no written record of five years’ worth of meetings with Joulaud….