The Latest: Fillon gets backing from conservative allies

PARIS (AP) — The Latest on the French presidential elections (all times local):

1:40 p.m.

Conservative allies praised French presidential candidate Francois Fillon for sticking with his troubled campaign despite pending corruption charges.

Bernard Debre, speaking to reporters after Fillon's announcement Wednesday, asked, "Are we still in a democracy? Are we going to let French people express themselves in a serene atmosphere? ... He's doing the right thing."

Debre agreed with Fillon's claim that the investigation into alleged fake jobs for his family members is an effort to derail his presidential campaign.

Nadine Morano of the Republicans party said, "We should respect his choice ... even if it was not easy."

Rival candidate Emmanuel Macron, an independent centrist, said it's important for investigators to do their jobs.


12:35 p.m.

French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon says he will not withdraw from the election despite having received a summons for fake parliamentary jobs investigation to face preliminary charges in an investigation into an alleged fake jobs scheme.

Fillon told reporters that his lawyers received the summons Wednesday. He denied all allegations and says legal procedure was not properly followed in what he called a political assassination and unprecedented probe during the election campaign for the two-round April-May election.

"I will not withdraw," he told reporters at his campaign headquarters. Fillon was once the front-runner for the two-round April-May election but his ratings have slipped because of the investigation


11:20 a.m.

Conservative Francois Fillon's campaign for the French presidency faced new uncertainty Wednesday as he abruptly canceled a campaign stop at the country's premier farm fair and an investigation intensified into alleged fake parliamentary jobs for his family.

Fillon's campaign team gave no reason for the sudden cancellation of Wednesday's appearance at the Salon d'Agriculture, but said he is expected to speak at his campaign headquarters at midday.

Financial Prosecutor Eliane Houlette denied reports that Fillon's wife Penelope was taken in for questioning Wednesday in the jobs investigation. She would not comment on reports that the Fillons received a summons Wednesday for questioning later this month.