Date: 4/3/2017
François Fillon’s campaign manager has announced his resignation, dealing another severe blow to the conservative candidate’s bid for the French presidency.

Scores of high-profile supporters and campaign aides have quit since Fillon announced on Wednesday he would soon be placed under formal investigation by judicial authorities over allegations that he illegally funneled public funds to his wife and children.

In his resignation letter, published by the Journal de Dimanche, campaign chief Patrick Stefanini said he had advised Fillon to drop out of the race on Wednesday. Stefanini told Fillon that as he had chosen to fight on, “I am not best placed to direct your campaign and I am drawing the appropriate conclusions.”

Thierry Solère, the campaign’s spokesperson, announced his resignation on Friday.

The Fillon campaign is staging a rally in Paris on Sunday in the hope of shoring up support for the candidate. An aide to the former prime minister told POLITICO on Friday that he would withdraw from the election if the rally was not the show of force he expected.

Stefanini will officially quit his job on Sunday evening and be replaced by to Vincent Chriqui, mayor of the commune of Bourgoin-Jallieu and a close Fillon ally.

With less than two months to go until the first round of the election on April 23, Fillon lies third in the opinion polls, behind far-right leader Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron. The top two candidates will qualify for a run-off, to take place two weeks later.