Former premier Francois Fillon was one of the early favourites to become president, but in the end he led the French right to a historic defeat, as a fake jobs scandal engulfed his campaign.

The former prime minister was charged in March with misuse of public funds over the employment of his British-born wife Penelope as a parliamentary assistant for 15 years.

His failure to win a place in the May 7 presidential run-off also marks the first time since 1958 that France’s main rightwing party has failed to make it to the second round.

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