PARIS, March 10 Former French prime minister
Alain Juppe said on Friday he backed Francois Fillon's
presidential bid and would be one of his official sponsors, only
days after slamming his fellow conservative in a speech.
"Even if just a passenger, I'm not leaving the ship during
the storm," Juppe said on his Twitter account.
Juppe, who was defeated by Fillon in the centre-right
primaries in November, had been seen by many conservatives as a
potential 'plan B' since the 63 year-old became embroiled in a
Earlier this week, Juppe had uncharacteristically harsh
words for Fillon, saying he had wasted The Republican party's
strong lead in the opinion polls and calling him obstinate.
Candidates need at least 500 official sponsors to compete in
the presidential election in April and May. Fillon already has
over 1,000, according to the constitutional council's website.
(Reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by Andrew Callus)