Former French prime minister Alain Juppe says he had decided ''once and for all'' not to stand in France's presidential election, dashing the hopes of many in his conservative party whose existing, scandal-hit candidate faces defeat. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Former French prime minister Alain Juppe said on Monday (March 6) he had decided "once and for all" not to stand in France's presidential election, dashing the hopes of many in his conservative party whose existing, scandal-hit candidate faces defeat. Juppe called his party's under-fire champion Francois Fillon obstinate in his determination to continue in the face of opinion polls that show him knocked out of the race in the first round of voting - but offered no alternative plan. Fillon's poor showing would leave favourite and centrist Emmanuel Macron to fight out the second round on May 7 with far-right leader Marine Le Pen. Polls have shown that Juppe as a candidate would have made the second round comfortably. "I don't have the intentions of engaging in partisan negotiations nor in the wheeling and dealing in positions. For a Gaullist (referring to former French President Charles de Gaulle), this is not the spirit of the presidential election. I am not then in a position today to bring about the rallying needed around a unifying project, and this is why I confirm, in good faith to everyone, that I will not be a candidate for president of the republic. This is what I will say to Nicolas Sarkozy and to Francois Fillon if they wish to meet with me," Juppe told journalists in Bordeaux.