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France's Fillon would not make runoff vote in coming elections, poll shows

Reuters

PARIS (Reuters) - French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon, embroiled in a scandal over money paid to his wife, will not make it into a runoff vote for the presidency in May, a poll of voting intentions showed on Friday.

The poll by Ifop Fiducial showed the 62-year-old former prime minister dropping into third place behind far-right leader Marine Le Pen and independent Emmanuel Macron in an initial round of voting on April 23.

Macron would go on to beat Le Pen in the May 7 round, taking 63 percent of the vote, the poll showed.

The poll confirmed a slide in the vote for Fillon, who had been the odds-on favorite for months. Then a scandal erupted on Jan. 25 after a newspaper reported that his wife had been drawing big salaries for work she may not have done.

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The poll said Le Pen, who heads the National Front, would get 25 percent of the vote in the first round and Macron would get 20.5 percent, with Fillon trailing on 18.5 percent.

Macron, who says he seeks to transcend the left-right divide with his centrist agenda, would beat Le Pen in the knockout, taking 63 percent to her 37 percent, it said.

(Writing by Richard Balmforth, editing by Larry King)