Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Europe's Desperate Seas: Migrant Deaths Crossing Mediterranean Top 3,000 in 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

'All is Well' for Lisa Simone

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

EU questions Apple's tax deals in Ireland

Read more

FOCUS

The Iraqi TV show where victims confront terrorists

Read more

REPORTERS

Video: Syrian student risks her life to film IS group stronghold

Read more

LIFESTYLES

Forgotten and fictional sports

Read more

DEBATE

Modi in America: India's Prime minister on triumphant US tour

Read more

DEBATE

Hong Kong protests: Pro-democracy movement gets global support

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

China censors Hong Kong protests on social media

Read more

Europe

France's UMP rivals agree on new leadership vote

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-12-18

UMP rivals François Fillon and Jean-François Copé (pictured) officially agreed Monday on the date for a fresh leadership vote next September, in a bid to heal the bruising divide within France’s right-wing opposition party.


The UMP, France’s divided and badly bruised right-wing opposition party, inched towards healing the rift within its ranks Sunday when two rival leaders agreed on a new leadership vote next September.

More than seven months after former President Nicolas Sarkozy’s election defeat, his party has been driven to the brink of collapse over a bitter leadership dispute between Jean-Francois Copé and former French Prime Minister François Fillon.

Copé, who won last month’s hotly contested leadership election, sealed an agreement Monday with Fillon to hold a new party presidency election in September 2013.

The dispute over the date of a new vote was the latest twist in an ugly battle between the tough-talking Copé, 48, and Fillon, 58, a traditional conservative who managed to remain popular as prime minister even as his boss's popularity sank in the polls.

While Fillon had set a March 2013 deadline for a new vote, his conservative rival had refused a re-election before March 2014.

The new September 2013 date was a compromise struck between the candidates in a bid to project a united front before the next parliamentary session opens January 15.

Shortly after he lost the leadership bid last month, Fillon created his own parliament group, dubbed the Rally for the UMP (R-UMP), depriving the UMP of 68 of its 194 deputies.

Fillon, Copé welcome agreement

Responding to the agreement Monday, Copé said he was “happy” to have reached an agreement that could put an end to the “nightmare” within the party.

"We met, agreed and shook hands and I think it was the most beautiful thing after three nightmarish weeks,” said Copé in an interview with a French TV and radio station.

In a written statement issued late Sunday, Fillon also welcomed the agreement and noted that once the two sides had settled other issues, Fillon’s R-UMP would begin the process of dissolving itself “as that has always been the understanding”.

Late Sunday the two protagonists welcomed the UMP's "grand slam" in three by-elections, winning one seat from the Socialists and holding two, with Copé seeing a "good omen for escaping from the crisis" in the party.

The political heir to the movement founded by Charles De Gaulle after World War II, the UMP has been in decline since Sarkozy’s defeat and is keen to project a united front against France’s Socialist President François Hollande.

Sarkozy has no official post in the UMP after his May defeat but he is understood to be anxious to keep the UMP together in case he decides to make a comeback bid for the presidency in 2017.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2012-12-17

  • FRANCE

    ‘Conditions not met’ for UMP referendum, says Copé

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    France's warring right head for referendum to end dispute

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Warring French opposition party turns to Sarkozy

    Read more

COMMENT(S)