PARIS, April 24 French conservative Francois
Fillon, who failed to make it into the second round of an
election for president on Sunday, said on Monday he would step
back from any front-line role ahead of parliamentary elections
Fillon, a 63-year-old former prime minister, had been
favourite to win the presidency until late January, when he was
hit by allegations that he was paying his wife and children from
public funds for work they had not properly carried out.
The allegations, which he denied, dented his credibility as
he was proposing to implement economic shock therapy of slashing
public sector jobs and workers' rights, and his ratings tumbled.
He was placed under formal investigation but resisted
pressure from within the party to give up his candidacy as he
had promised, finally coming third with less than 20 percent of
In a statement after a meeting of The Republicans'
leadership, Fillon said the elections were his party's next
challenge and he was certain it would fare well.
But he said he would not be part of it. It was not clear
whether he planned to continue as a parliamentary deputy.
"This battle is now in your hands," he told party workers. I
no longer have the credibility to fight on your side.
"I will now become a simple party activist again. I will
have to think about a different life."
Fillon remains under investigation over charges of
misappropriation of public funds.
(Reporting by Geert de Clercq and Richard Balmforth; Editing by