Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

'New York Post' slammed for publishing ISIS execution images

Read more

DEBATE

Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza: Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza conflict: 72-hour ceasefire deal sets stage for Cairo talks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

FOCUS

Spain's El Hierro to become world's first self-powered island

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A bellwether for what not to do

Read more

ENCORE!

Luc Besson back in action with Scarlett Johansson in 'Lucy'

Read more

FOCUS

Israel's minorities and military service

Read more

  • US forces tried to rescue slain reporter from IS captors

    Read more

  • Thailand coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha voted prime minister

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

  • US attorney general visits Missouri town after fatal shooting

    Read more

  • French village rallies behind besieged elderly British couple

    Read more

  • Brazil’s Silva launches bid after Campos plane crash death

    Read more

  • Netanyahu compares Hamas to IS, Gaza offensive to continue

    Read more

  • Brutal IS beheading video sparks social media pushback

    Read more

  • France’s ex-PM Juppé sets up presidential clash with Sarkozy

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande says global security ‘worst since 2001’

    Read more

  • France urges Iran, others in region, to join fight against IS

    Read more

  • A new view on Normandy landings, 70 years on

    Read more

  • Dozens killed as landslides strike Japan’s Hiroshima

    Read more

  • Suspected Ebola cases in Austria, new drug raises hopes

    Read more

  • WWII anniversary highlights best - and worst - of Paris police

    Read more

France

Sarkozy's scattered forces close ranks in Marseille

Text by Joseph BAMAT

Latest update : 2011-09-03

French conservatives have gathered in Marseille for their annual “Summer School” conference, hoping to paper over the cracks in the party and rally support around President Nicolas Sarkozy's re-election bid.

Gathered in the southern city of Marseille from September 2 to 4, UMP party leaders, lawmakers and rank-and-file members are calling on supporters to rally around French President Nicolas Sarkozy as he campaigns for a second term.

The traditional “Summer School” gathering offers party members a chance to show a united front and mold political consensus. This year, it will be key in jump-starting the UMP's drive to stay in power for another term. The two-round presidential election is scheduled for April 22 and May 6 of next year.

Party leaders, including UMP chief Jean-François Copé and Prime Minister François Fillon, are expected to drum up support for Sarkozy in keynote speeches over the weekend. Copé will also unveil the results of a vast survey of former and current party members, who were asked what issues were most important to them ahead of the race.

But despite the upbeat talk, party members will be well aware that their champion faces an uphill battle in next year's presidential poll. Sarkozy's government has been plagued by scandals and his approval ratings have tanked.

Divisions within the party have flared up, with at least one prominent member, former environment minister Jean-Louis Borloo, quitting the UMP camp last April. Borloo, a centrist, has threatened to run against Sarkozy in the forthcoming poll.

Even at the conference, carefully groomed for the media, the ruling party struggled to present a unified front. On Friday Jean-Pierre Raffarin, a former prime minister and UMP heavyweight, criticized Sarkozy's move to raise taxes on amusement parks, calling it an attack on the poor.

On Saturday, he sought to make amends. “We need to unite as a party,” he told a crowd at a plenary session. “We need to unite because we have the best candidate”.

He and his colleagues may find it easier to achieve the much desired unity when they indulge in another favourite pastime of these summer gatherings: railing against the opposition Socialist Party, who have also struggled to overcome their own divisions.


 

Date created : 2011-09-03

  • FRANCE

    With an eye to 2012, Sarkozy party turns to its base

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Sarkozy's UMP seeks to discredit socialist primaries

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Sarkozy eyes re-election with reshuffled cabinet

    Read more

COMMENT(S)