Europe

Sarkozy calls for crisis meeting to salvage French right

  • French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon and his wife Penelope appear during a rally in Paris, Sunday, March 5, 2017. Fillon is urging his supporters not to "give up the fight" for the presidency despite corruption allegations dogging him. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

    French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon and his wife Penelope appear during a rally in Paris, Sunday, March 5, 2017. Fillon is urging his supporters not to "give up the fight" for the presidency despite corruption allegations dogging him. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)  (The Associated Press)

  • Supporters of conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon listen during a rally in Paris, Sunday, March 5, 2017. The rally across from the Eiffel Tower is meant to gauge Fillon's remaining support after numerous defections by conservative allies just seven weeks before the first round of the April-May election. Fillon faces corruption charges. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

    Supporters of conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon listen during a rally in Paris, Sunday, March 5, 2017. The rally across from the Eiffel Tower is meant to gauge Fillon's remaining support after numerous defections by conservative allies just seven weeks before the first round of the April-May election. Fillon faces corruption charges. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)  (The Associated Press)

  • French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon, right, thumbs up with his wife Penelope after delivering his speech during a rally in Paris, Sunday, March 5, 2017. Fillon is urging his supporters not to "give up the fight" for the presidency despite corruption allegations dogging him. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

    French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon, right, thumbs up with his wife Penelope after delivering his speech during a rally in Paris, Sunday, March 5, 2017. Fillon is urging his supporters not to "give up the fight" for the presidency despite corruption allegations dogging him. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)  (The Associated Press)

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is calling for a meeting with embattled conservative candidate Francois Fillon and his possible replacement to find a solution to the crisis that threatens to shatter the French right.

Sarkozy says the current divisions, which are linked to Fillon's decision to maintain his presidential bid despite impending corruption charges, are playing into the hands of the far-right. Sarkozy said this situation "can't last and is creating deep unease among French people."

Despite a plethora of defections by conservative allies in recent days, Fillon has pledged to remain in the race.

Fillon's Republicans party remains dangerously divided over his candidacy, though, and its political committee is holding an urgent meeting Monday.

Many conservatives want Alain Juppe, a former prime minister, to run in Fillon's place.