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‘Conditions not met’ for UMP referendum, says Copé

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-11-28

The bitter internal dispute within French opposition party UMP took another turn on Wednesday as Jean-François Copé declared that the conditions for a referendum on whether to re-run a leadership vote had “not been met.”

The war of words between declared UMP leader Jean-François Copé and his rival François Fillon continued to escalate on Wednesday; one day after Fillon founded a breakaway parliamentary faction that was recognised by the National Assembly.

Insisting that conditions to determine whether or not to hold another leadership vote “had not been met”, and lamenting “the pitiful show we’re giving the French people”, Copé said that a “line has been crossed.”

The UMP soap opera

Henri Guaino, a former advisor to Nicholas Sarkozy, and a supporter of Copé during his campaign, said he deplored the latter’s decision to suspend referendum plans.

“This idea for a referendum was a way out,” he added, also calling on François Fillon to renounce the new parliamentary group, the creation of which he called a “moral fault.”

Fillon supporter Laurent Wauquiez said of Copé’s decision, “This disappoints me because we mustn’t forget that the members have had enough, that the French people have had enough.”

The UMP’s tentative referendum plans were the party’s first steps toward ending a damaging internal battle that has raged for ten days.

It followed an intervention by ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, who stepped in behind the scenes to resolve a crisis threatening a decade-old coalition of Gaullist conservatives, centrists, Christian democrats and liberals.

Copé, the declared winner of the leadership vote who has refused calls for a new election, proposed holding the referendum in December or January, insisting he would remain party leader until a new vote.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2012-11-28

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