Emmanuel Macron. Pic/AFP
Paris: France's presidential election campaign lurched deeper into uncertainty on Tuesday after centrist Emmanuel Macron was forced to deny an extramarital affair while financial scandal continued to dog conservative rival Francois Fillon and his party. Macron has become the favourite to win by a thin margin since a scandal two weeks ago surrounding the work of Fillon's wife, Penelope, knocked the former prime minister off the top spot.
Late on Monday, the centrist former economy minister and ex-banker sought to move his campaign on, taking an opportunity to dismiss rumours he had a gay relationship outside his marriage to Brigitte Trogneux.
"If you're told I lead a double life with Mr Gallet it's because my hologram has escaped," said Macron, referring to Radio France chief executive Mathieu Gallet. A spokeswoman said the comments were "a clear denial of the rumours about his private life".
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy is to face trial on charges of illegally financing his failed 2012 re-election bid, causing more trouble for the country's rightwing Republicans party.
The prosecution claims that Sarkozy spent nearly double the legal limit of 22.5 million euros ($24 million) on his lavish campaign, using false billing from a public relations firm called Bygmalion. Thirteen other people will be tried alongside him.