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Majority of French want Fillon to drop presidency bid: poll

Francois Fillon, former French prime minister, member of The Republicans political party and 2017 presidential candidate of the French centre-right, leaves home in Paris, France, February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

PARIS (Reuters) - Sixty-nine percent of people in France want Francois Fillon to drop his bid to become the country’s president, in light of a “fake job” allegation that has hit his campaign, according to a poll published on Thursday.

The Harris Interactive poll, conducted on behalf of French radio station RMC and Atlantico, added that Alain Juppe was the preferred candidate to replace Fillon as the presidential candidate for The Republicans right-wing party.

The poll also said that 29 percent thought The Republicans would win if Fillon was the candidate, while 57 percent thought that party would win if represented by another candidate. The survey was conducted online on Feb 1, added Harris Interactive.

Earlier this week, Fillon accused his opponents in the government on Wednesday of fomenting a scandal in an attempt to scuttle his presidential campaign, as a new poll showed him no longer favorite to win power.

The poll by Elabe pointed to rising support for far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen, but also showed centrist Emmanuel Macron most likely to win the presidency - snatching the position of favorite that Fillon held until last week.

Fillon has steadily lost ground in polls after newspaper Le Canard Enchaine said the former prime minister had paid his wife Penelope 500,000 euros for work she did not seem to have done.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; editing by Michel Rose