(Corrects paragraph 2 to "wife, a son and a daughter" instead
of "wife and sons")
* Fillon dogged by questions over jobs scandal
* Latest poll shows Le Pen one point ahead in first round
* Macron says rivals should focus on Le Pen
By Adrian Croft
PARIS, April 3 French presidential candidate
Francois Fillon, an outsider to win after involvement in
financial scandal, said on Monday he would order a parliamentary
inquiry into allegations President Francois Hollande interfered
in the justice system, if elected.
Once the frontrunner, the conservative former prime
minister's poll ratings have slumped since allegations surfaced
that he paid his wife, a son and a daughter hundreds of
thousands of euros of public money for minimal work.
Although some polls show his support recovering slightly
with less than three weeks to the April 23 first round, he is
well behind far-right leader Marine Le Pen and independent
centrist Emmanuel Macron, who are tipped to go through to a May
Fillon, 63, who is being investigated by magistrates over
the jobs allegations and over a gift of expensive suits,
insisted on his innocence.
"If I had the slightest doubt about my guilt I wouldn't be a
candidate in the presidential election," he told BFM TV.
He said he was the victim of "manipulation" and believed his
case was being closely followed "by the highest authorities".
He drew back from previous allegations that Hollande, a
Socialist president who is not standing for a second term, had
personally led a smear campaign against him. He said he could
not prove this.
He said however that prosecutors should open an inquiry into
allegations made in a book by two journalists from the satirical
weekly Le Canard Enchaine that Hollande had had judicial
wiretaps that interested him sent to his office.
"Prosecutors should take up this case. If they don't do so
and if I am elected president, there will be a parliamentary
commission of inquiry," Fillon said.
Hollande's office has rejected Fillon's accusations and
denied interference in the justice system.
Fillon said that, given the investigations against him,
there was "every chance" his own phone was tapped.
Fillon also said that Francois Baroin, a former finance
minister, would be a "very good choice" for prime minister if he
won election to the Elysee.
Investors are concerned the wave of frustration with
political elites behind Britain's vote to leave the European
Union and the election of Donald Trump in the United States
could sweep Le Pen into power in France.
The National Front leader would take France out of the euro
and hold a referendum on EU membership.
The latest poll, by Opinionway, showed Le Pen, with 25
percent in the first round, one point ahead of Macron and six
points ahead of Fillon.
It showed Macron would easily beat Le Pen in the run-off,
but former Prime Minister Manuel Valls said last week he
believed Le Pen's potential score was seriously under-rated.
Macron told Le Monde in an interview on Monday that Fillon
and Socialist candidate Benoit Hamon were wrong to focus their
attacks on him, when Le Pen was the real threat.
"Those who say Marine Le Pen can't win the second round are
the same as those who said Trump could never win. We don't know
what can happen if she is far ahead in the first round," he
(Additional reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by Richard