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Two thirds of French voters wish Fillon drops his candidacy: Ifop poll

Francois Fillon, former French prime minister, member of The Republicans political party and 2017 presidential election candidate of the French centre-right, attends a meeting at the city hall in Tourcoing, northern France, February 17, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Huguen/Pool

PARIS (Reuters) - About two-thirds of French voters wish that conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon withdraws his bid after allegations his wife was paid for a fake job, according to an Ifop poll for Journal du Dimanche newspaper.

The poll, based on 1,004 interviews with French voters on Friday and Saturday, showed that 65 percent of respondents wished Fillon would drop his candidacy.

The results were down by 3 percentage points compared with an identical poll conducted two weeks earlier, Ifop said.

The margin of error is estimated at plus or minus 3.1 percent when poll’s results are 50 percent or higher, Ifop said.

Among supporters of Fillon’s political party The Republicans, 70 percent of respondents wish that he maintains his candidacy, which is 6 points higher than two weeks ago.

Fillon said on Friday he would stay in the race come what may, after saying for weeks that he would step down if he were put under formal investigation over his wife’s employment.

Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli