Speed Reads

meanwhile, in France

The French presidential election just got even crazier

America isn't the only democracy that has chaotic elections. In France, conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon is officially facing preliminary charges Tuesday after allegedly paying his wife thousands of euros for parliamentary assistant work she might not have actually done.

Fillon — who The Week's Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry describes as "a kind of French Marco Rubio" — previously said he would drop out of the race if the charges were formally brought against him, but he later walked back the promise after claiming his Republican party does not have an alternative to him as a nominee, The Republic reports.

French elections occur in rounds; if a candidate does not win the first election on April 23, a run-off between the top two candidates will be held May 7. Once a favorite, Fillon's chances have dimmed, with independent centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen edging ahead.

Fillon has maintained his innocence throughout the "fake jobs" scandal and even as many abandon his campaign, he has vowed to fight on. "There is only one thing that exists in a democracy: It's the people’s will," Fillon said in a press conference Monday. "The French will choose." Read more about the French election — and the surprising clout of Fillon's challenger, Macron — at The Week.