Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin - Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions?

Read more

FOCUS

Pakistan's Ahmadis living in fear of extremist attacks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users show solidarity with Iraqi Christians

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Gilles Kepel, Islamic and Arab world specialist

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Argentina braced for another debt default

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'What would you do?'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola virus: Liberia shuts most border points

Read more

  • Graphic: Ebola spreads across West Africa

    Read more

  • In pictures: ن - a sign of support for Iraq’s persecuted Christians

    Read more

  • EU broadens sanctions on Russia over Ukraine crisis

    Read more

  • Calls mount to ban France’s ‘violent’ Jewish Defence League

    Read more

  • Venezuela: Hugo Chavez’s ‘little bird’ strikes again

    Read more

  • France extradites suspected Jewish Museum shooter to Belgium

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Rare Sri Lankan leopard cubs born in French zoo

    Read more

  • France evacuates its nationals from Libya

    Read more

  • Israeli strikes target symbols of Hamas power

    Read more

  • US says Russia violated arms treaty by testing cruise missile

    Read more

  • Argentina in last-ditch effort to avert default

    Read more

  • Karzai’s cousin killed in Afghan suicide attack

    Read more

  • Libya oil tanker fire blazes out of control

    Read more

  • In pictures: From Gaza to Mosul, bittersweet end of Ramadan for Muslims

    Read more

  • Moroccan police arrest French al Qaeda recruiter

    Read more

Europe

Warring French opposition party turns to Sarkozy

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-11-26

France’s main opposition party the UMP is in disarray following last week’s disputed election for a new leader. For many in the party, former president Nicolas Sarkozy is the only person with sufficient authority to clear up the mess.

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy must intervene to settle a bitter leadership battle that is tearing the country’s main right-wing opposition party to pieces, senior party members said on Monday.

ANALYSIS

Alain Juppé, a former prime minister who was one of the founders of the centre-right UMP, said that the former head of state was the only person who could resolve a dispute that has made a laughing stock of the French mainstream right.

“I thought until now that the former head of state ought to stay out of partisan quarrels like these,” Juppé told RTL radio. “But it seems perfectly clear to me now that he is the only person who has sufficient authority to find a way out of this mess.”

Juppé was supported by former interior minister Claude Guéant, who told Europe 1 radio on Monday that Sarkozy “had not ruled out sending a communiqué calling for an end to hostilities”.

Ballot-stuffing

The UMP has been in disarray since a party primary handed rightist Jean-François Copé a narrow victory in a vote that was marred by allegations on both sides of ballot-stuffing and fraud.

Copé claimed victory on Monday November 19 by a margin of just 98 votes out of 175,000 cast by party members.

His opponent François Fillon, a centrist former prime minister whom polls predicted would win comfortably, has contested the result of an election that should have given a clear idea of who would become the UMP’s next presidential candidate.

The election row, which has been dominating French front pages for more than a week, has revived speculation that Sarkozy will stage a political comeback.

The former president, who failed in his bid for a second term in the May 2012 presidential election, has told his aides that he will feel obliged to run for office again if the Socialists, in power since May, fail to breathe new life into France’s stagnating economy.

A CSA poll last week showed that more than half of UMP supporters want Sarkozy to have another shot at the presidency in 2017, followed by 24% supporting Fillon and 15% behind Copé.

Bailiffs at the UMP offices

On Monday Copé told reporters that during a “long and friendly phone call” with Sarkozy, his former boss had told him he “had absolutely no intention of getting involved in this election dispute.”

Sarkozy was due to have lunch with Fillon on Monday after the former prime minister had called on bailiffs to seize ballots from the UMP’s offices in Paris and was threatening legal action against Copé, a move that Sarkozy wants to avoid.

“The ball’s in Sarkozy’s court,” Juppé said on Monday, adding that senior members of the party not involved in the leadership battle wanted to resolve the issue internally as soon as possible. “Getting the courts involved will only aggravate the split and increase the risks of the party imploding.”

Sarkozy, who has kept a low profile since his defeat at the hands of Socialist President François Hollande in May, has been buoyed by a court decision last week not to indict him over allegations he took illegal cash donations of more than four million euros from L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt.

 

Date created : 2012-11-26

  • FRANCE

    UMP ‘close to collapse’ after talks fail to resolve crisis

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Rivals clash over UMP leadership ahead of talks

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    French right wing in chaos after disputed vote

    Read more

COMMENT(S)