French opposition party agrees uneasy truce following internal battle over 'fraudulent' leadership election
Tuesday 18 December 2012
An uneasy peace has broken out in the month-old conflict which threatened to tear apart the main French opposition party.
Jean-Francois Copé, the apparent winner of an allegedly fraudulent leadership election in November has agreed to a new poll next September to decide who should succeed Nicolas Sarkozy as the long-term President of the centre-right Union Pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP).
In return, his rival, the former Prime Minister François Fillon, has agreed to dissolve his breakaway parliamentary group – the Rassemblement UMP or RUMP – and abandon a legal action against his own party.
Both sides claimed victory yesterday but the terms accepted by Mr Cope amount to an admission that his apparent victory by a handful of vote last month was, at the least, dubious. The new election will be organised by a neutral “high authority”. If he wishes to run again, Mr Cope, 48, will have to stand down as UMP president.
Party resources will be equally available to all candidates. In the meantime, two of Mr Fillon’s closest allies will be given senior posts in the UMP hierarchy.
The deal, brokered by the former prime minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, has avoided, for now, a schism within France’s largest political party. It leaves, however, a legacy of fraternal hatred, based partly on ideology and partly on personal ambition, which could explode once again next year.
Mr Fillon, 58, had accused Mr Copé’s team of organising “fraud on an industrial scale” to snatch the party leadership and de facto pole position for the centre-right “nomination” for the 2017 presidential election. Tens of thousands of proxy ballots were cast for Mr Cope, who organised the election as party secretary-general. Votes from overseas were “forgotten”.
Mr Copé, a one-time moderate who ran a populist, hard right campaign, accused Mr Fillon of being a “bad loser” and anti-democratic.
Other candidates could now enter the race next summer, including, conceivably, former President Nicolas Sarkozy. Mr Fillon may stand aside and concentrate his energies and his long-term Presidential hopes on the mayoral election in Paris in 2014.
National support for both men has been reduced by the internal, party name-calling in the last month but Mr Copé’s ratings have fallen more steeply than those of Mr Fillon. By taking his party to the brink of destruction, the former prime minister lost his reputation as a calm and consensual politician. He also demonstrated fighting qualities that even his supporters had not previously detected.
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 3 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 4 Vogue under fire for 'Big Booty' article
- 5 Julian Assange and Edward Snowden join piracy mogul Kim Dotcom’s political campaign in New Zealand
Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Jihadi John': MI5 may have identified Isis militant who killed David Haines but options limited
Scottish independence: Police will be on high alert on Friday whatever the result
David Haines beheading: David Cameron says Britain will hunt down Isis 'monsters' shown in video murdering aid worker
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke
£18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...
£24,000 per annum pro rata (21 hours per week): Belong: Work as part of a cutt...
£45 - £50 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Randstad Education are currentl...
£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Are you looking for work in Ed...