French Senator Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne has become the first member of the Republicans to endorse independent Emmanuel Macron rather than his party’s own candidate Francois Fillon, who’s been damaged by a series of financial scandals.
Macron is the only “credible alternative,” Lemoyne told Agence France-Presse late Wednesday. His party is moving to kick him out as a result.
“The Republicans are totally committed to redress France’s situation with Francois Fillon,” General Secretary Bernard Accoyer said in a statement. Support for Macron, who worked with outgoing Socialist President Francois Hollande, is “totally incompatible” with the party line, Accoyer said.
Fillon two weeks ago faced down a party rebellion from Republicans after learning he was to be charged as part of an investigation into hiring family members as parliamentary aides. While some called for his replacement, Lemoyne is the first to back Macron. The former economy minister has also won the endorsement of several Socialist elders who have abandoned their party’s candidate Benoit Hamon.
Polls show that Macron would defeat nationalist Marine Le Pen in the May 7 runoff, with Fillon and Hamon eliminated in the April 23 first round.