Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Air Algerie investigation continues

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Dozens of youths trampled to death on Conakry beach

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola death toll tops 700

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

UNRWA official breaks down over Gaza deaths

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults - Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds' (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults - Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Renault's women drivers ad deemed sexist

Read more

FOCUS

Constitution prohibits Aung San Suu Kyi to run for president

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

War and Markets, with Steen Jakobsen, Chief Economist at Saxo Bank

Read more

  • Kerry, Ban announce 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza

    Read more

  • 24 killed¸ 271 injured in South Taiwan gas blast

    Read more

  • Argentinian markets plummet following default

    Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • French Jews speak of growing fear in Paris amid Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • Video: Inside Hamas ‘terror’ tunnels in Gaza

    Read more

  • Sierra Leone declares state of emergency over spread of Ebola

    Read more

  • Investigators reach MH17 site amid 24-hour ceasefire

    Read more

  • France remembers murdered socialist hero Jean Jaurès

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Scores feared dead in India landslide

    Read more

  • Russia ordered to pay further €1.9 billion to Yukos shareholders

    Read more

  • Iraq's Christians: Nowhere to Run?

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

  • US House votes to sue Obama for over-reaching his powers

    Read more

France

Fraud allegations cloud French opposition poll

© Photo: AFP

Video by Kethevane GORJESTANI

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-11-19

Both candidates fighting to become the head of France’s main conservative opposition party, the UMP, claimed Monday they had won the party’s primary vote, amid accusations on both sides of voter fraud.

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s centre-right opposition UMP party remained leaderless on Monday after party members voted for their next leader in a poll that was marred by allegations of voter fraud.

Both former prime minister François Fillon and his opponent Jean-François Copé claimed victory, after a campaign that has split the UMP and caused widespread derision.

Both camps claimed “irregularities” in some voting offices -- where there were more votes were counted than registered voters -- and said they would contest the result.

Fillon, who was predicted to win, was furious on Monday morning. His supporters claimed he had won by 244 votes after some 150,000 UMP members had cast their ballot. Copé, in turn, claimed he had won by more than 1,000 votes, all before any official announcement.

Speaking to reporters in the early hours of Monday morning, Fillon said: “France is watching us. We do not have the right to announce the result before those in charge of the vote.”

Copé, meanwhile, was confident of victory: “The UMP’s membership has accorded me a majority of their votes and therefore has elected me as the president of the party.”

The vote comes six months after former UMP leader and president Nicolas Sarkozy was defeated by Socialist François Hollande.

Despite the ignominy of party squabbling, the winner will be well-placed to exploit the free-fall in support for Hollande since he took office. But he will also have the difficult task of re-uniting a party split in an election battle that has drawn widespread derision and delighted the party’s opponents, especially the far-right National Front (FN) which is determined to overtake the UMP as the main voice of France's conservative opposition.

“It is obvious that whoever is elected president of the UMP will have no legitimacy whatsoever given that he will be in charge of a party broken in two,” said FN deputy-leader Florian Philipott.

Both Fillon, 58, and Copé, ten years his junior, are seen as advocates of free market policies and economic reform.

But they differ on social issues -- Copé shares Sarkozy's approach on tighter immigration policies and a strong-armed, populist agenda on Muslim integration. Last month he published “A Manifesto for an Uninhibited Right”, in which he lambasted a culture of “anti-white racism” within immigrant communities in impoverished urban areas.

Fillon, meanwhile, portrays himself as an experienced statesman who has avoided the lure of populism and managed to stay clear of the scandals that rocked Sarkozy’s five years in office.

 

Date created : 2012-11-19

  • FRANCE

    In the shadow of Sarkozy, UMP picks new leader

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Muslims treat Paris to pastry protest on Eid

    Read more

  • FRANCE - POLITICS

    French opposition head for bruising leadership battle

    Read more

COMMENT(S)