• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Copé and Fillon drop swords over election

AFP · 23 Nov 2012, 13:00

Published: 23 Nov 2012 13:00 GMT+01:00

Both Jean-François Copé, the right-winger who was declared the winner of Sunday's knife-edge vote, and his centrist rival François Fillon have agreed to mediation intended to establish who actually won and whether mutual allegations of ballot rigging had any foundation.

Party heavyweight Alain Juppé, a former premier and foreign minister, has been handed what promises to be an extremely delicate job with the two camps still squabbling over the exact terms of his mandate.

"It is not the presidency of the UMP that is at stake, it the very existence of the party," Juppé warned in a tweet after agreeing to take on the role, review how the election was run and report back in 15 days.

Despite that deal, the fratricidal sniping continued, suggesting any settlement proposed by Juppé may prove short-lived.

"A political party is not a mafia," Fillon said Friday. "You can't just bury scandals, refuse to tell the truth."

Copé was declared the winner of the leadership battle by a margin of just 98 votes in a contest in which more than 150,000 party members voted.

The electoral commission has since said that ballots cast in France's overseas territories which were not counted would have reversed the result while the Copé camp has claimed he would have won by a clear margin but for vote-rigging in the southern city of Nice.

The UMP's rivals meanwhile are rubbing their hands with glee.

The ruling Socialists, struggling in the opinion polls and grappling with a stagnating economy, have been given a huge morale boost by the sight of their main opponents self-destructing in front of them.

The far-right National Front is also hoping to capitalise on the UMP's woes.

Story continues below…

"The UMP was created purely for the electoral interests of those who are involved in it and that is why it is falling apart now," said NF leader Marine Le Pen.

"How can anyone expect these people to work together after they've called each other corrupt, thieves, cheats?

"Whoever becomes the leader will have no legitimacy. They're finished."

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
14,000 pregnant women in France took 'birth defect drug'
Dépakine has been linked to an increased risk of various congenital defects. File photo: AFP

Health authorities have been criticized for their slow reaction to warnings that Dépakine can be dangerous during pregnancy.

How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Photo: AFP

Almost all of France is on a heatwave alert. Here's how to keep cool.

Heatwave warnings extended yet again as France bakes
Photo: AFP

The national weather agency has issued orange alerts to a further 23 départements.

Paris warned about high level of ozone pollution
Photo: AFP

Free parking on Thursday to fight the high pollution levels.

French Muslim body to talk burqini ban with government
Photo: AFP

The French Council of Muslims has called an urgent meeting with the interior minister citing a "fear of stigmatization of Muslims in France".

Where to go in France to find the best ice cream
Be quick - it's a scorcher of a summer in France this year. Photo: AFP

The tastiest way to get through the heatwave.

French schools to ramp up security with 'mock attacks'
Photo: AFP

French schools will soon be forced to stage simulated attacks in a bid to prepare children for potential terror attacks, among other measures.

French police 'force woman to remove burqini' on beach
A file photo of a woman in a burqini. Photo: AFP

Pictures have emerged showing armed police officers in southern France apparently forcing a woman to remove her burqini.

Déja vu? Familiar faces in France's presidential race
President Hollande, who hasn't yet announced if he will run, and Nicolas Sarkozy, who is eyeing up the top job next year. Photo: AFP

France is yearning for political renewal, but looks set to be stuck with familiar faces in the presidential race.

Frenchman 'kills Brit in stabbing rampage' in Australia
Photo: AFP

A Frenchman allegedly killed a British woman and stabbed three others in an Australian backpacker's hostel.

Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Society
Here's how to enjoy Paris (while avoiding the heat)
Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
Society
Ten mistakes to avoid when dating a Frenchman
Society
Twelve 'French' things that aren't actually French at all
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
'World's priciest home' on sale in French Riviera for €1 billion
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Lifestyle
RECIPE: How to make the tastiest ratatouille
National
Paris sees Europe's biggest plunge in 'liveability'
National
Life on the home front in rural France's 'war on terror'
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Features
Weird facts you didn't know about the French language
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Society
Paris foodie event cancelled over lack of security
How to tackle six of the trickiest French verbs
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
Summer in France - 'the ideal time to find a job'
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
'Burqini bans will only divide France more'
National
French vineyards revive horse-drawn ploughs
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
French mayor bans Pokemon Go app from his village
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
'To boycott France is to surrender to terrorists'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
21 photos to make you want to come to France right now
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Society
This is how much the French are obsessed with cheese
National
French MP's call for Facebook ID cards blasted 'as idiotic'
Travel
Summer checklist: Fourteen great travel ideas for France
Travel
Here's why France is still world's top tourist destination
'Wealthy American tourists' snub France over terror fears
National
Where to go swimming in France (and where to avoid)
Society
23 subtle signs you'll never quite master French
2,741
jobs available