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Police raided the Paris home of French rightwing presidential candidate Francois Fillon on Thursday over an alleged fake job scandal as a senior party colleague warned him he risked dragging his party "into an abyss".

Fillon revealed Wednesday he is set to be charged over allegations he paid his wife and children hundreds of thousands of euros for fake parliamentary jobs Brett Hundley Jersey , but he has vowed to continue his bid for power.

  Fillon is set to be charged over allegations he paid his wife and children hundreds of thousands of euros for fake parliamentary jobs (AFP PhotoPASCAL GUYOT)

After searches at his parliamentary office last month, police raided his central Paris home Thursday as he visited winegrowers on the campaign trial in southern France.

The raid "finished several hours ago", a source in Fillon's team told AFP late Thursday Kyler Fackrell Jersey , confirming information first reported by Le Parisien newspaper.

Fillon was accused by Dominique de Villepin, another former premier from his Republicans party, of driving the right wing "into the abyss" with his insistence on running for the presidency.

"Going down this dead-end street is taking the state Jason Spriggs Jersey , our faith in democracy and its fellow travellers hostage," de Villepin wrote in Le Figaro newspaper.

Fillon has called the charges against him "entirely calculated to stop me being a candidate for the presidential election" and has ruled out stepping aside.

But defections from his team and calls from senior Republicans for ex-premier Alain Juppe, 71 JK Scott Jersey , to replace him have underlined divisions in his camp.

"The French people back me," Fillon insisted Thursday. "The base is holding."

New polls suggest Fillon is in third place and would win 19-20 percent in the first round of the election on April 23, behind centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

Thousands still turned out to Fillon's rally in the town of Nimes on Thursday evening and his calculation appears to be that he can close the small gap on his rivals in the remaining two months.

The top two from the first round proceed to a run-off on May 7 Marquez Valdes-Scantling Jersey , which Macron is currently shown winning.

But analysts warn against firm forecasts after a rollercoaster campaign so far.

- Le Pen loses immunity -

Le Pen's legal woes also deepened as the European Parliament lifted her immunity to allow her to be prosecuted for retweeting images of Islamic State atrocities.

The anti-EU, anti-immigration candidate also faces a separate parliamentary expenses investigation and a campaign financing probe in France -- all of which she, like Fillon J'Mon Moore Jersey , denounces as a plot to thwart her.

The investigation in focus on Thursday concerns graphic pictures including that of a beheaded journalist that Le Pen, an MEP, tweeted in 2015.

They were addressed to a French television journalist who had likened her National Front party to the Islamic State group Oren Burks Jersey , leading police to open a probe into "the dissemination of violent images".

"The thing about the judicial affairs for Marine Le Pen and the National Front is that they are not about personal enrichment, while Francois Fillon's family is directly implicated," far-right expert Cecile Alduy from Stanford University told a conference this week.

- Macron's agenda unveiled -

Macron Ty Montgomery Packers Jersey , meanwhile, promised a "strategy to make public life more ethical" as he unveiled his full programme for the first time.

The 39-year-old said he would ban parliamentarians from employing relatives, bar candidates with criminal records from standing for office Quinten Rollins Packers Jersey , and increase the scrutiny of MPs' expenses.

Speaking late Thursday, he also said he would pull out of the election if he was charged "in the same way, in principle Kenny Clark Packers Jersey , a minister must leave the government if he is charged".

"To be president is to be the guarantor of institutions -- that is to say someone who guarantees the di

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