• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

UMP mulls referendum on new leadership vote

AFP · 27 Nov 2012, 22:16

Published: 27 Nov 2012 22:16 GMT+01:00

Spurred by ex-premier Francois Fillon's supporters forming a breakaway parliamentary faction, Fillon and his rival for the leadership Jean-François Copé conditionally agreed to a vote among party members on holding a new election.

The move marked the first time the two camps appeared to agree on the way forward after more than a week of bitter recriminations and angry mudslinging that has done considerable damage to the UMP's reputation.

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.

Sources close to Fillon said he had welcomed the idea but on condition that the referendum be held without delay and that there be "strict guarantees of impartiality" for its organization.

The two camps were in talks late Tuesday on the conditions for a referendum.

The UMP has teetered on the verge of collapse over the dispute, which saw the November 18th leadership vote tarnished by accusations of vote-rigging.

Fillon had upped the stakes on Tuesday by forming a new parliamentary wing to break away from the UMP, depriving the party of credibility and crucial public funding.

Fillon's Rassemblement-UMP group was expected to attract up to 70 of the UMP's 194 members and associate members in the National Assembly — costing the party some of the 42,000 euros ($54,000) per member it receives in public funds every year.

Increasingly worried by the crisis, Sarkozy stepped in and party insiders said his involvement was essential.

"Nicolas Sarkozy's intervention was decisive," said Jerome Chartier, a UMP deputy close to Fillon.

"Finally things are moving," Chartier said.

"A conversation has started and it's moving in the right direction."

Sarkozy, defeated by Socialist François Hollande in May's presidential vote, is anxious to keep the UMP together in case he decides to make a comeback bid for the presidency in 2017.

Copé had urged Fillon to abandon the idea of a splinter parliamentary group, which many UMP members in the upper house Senate are also expected to join.

Story continues below…

Lawmakers have until Friday to declare their party affiliation for next year's funds.

A party appeals commission on Monday confirmed Copé's win in the leadership vote, raising his margin of victory from 98 votes to nearly 1,000 following an examination of complaints over alleged irregularities.

Fillon's camp accused the commission of bias and said he will pursue legal action including a civil suit to have the results overturned.

Opinion polls show the overwhelming majority of French voters and UMP supporters would like to see the party run the election again.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France charges Charlie Hebdo killer’s relative
The suspect was charged after being handed over to French authorities by Bulgaria. Dimitar Dilkoff /AFP

The brother-in-law of one of the jihadists who attacked French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last year faced terrorism charges on Saturday for allegedly trying to join Islamic State fighters in Syria, a judicial source said.

French mayors dismiss suspended burqini ban
Photo: Jean Christophe Magnenet /AFP

The row over France’s burqini ban continues with several mayors vowing to keep restrictions in place despite the country’s top court suspending the ban in the resort town of Villeneuve-Loubet.

France's top court suspends burqini ban
Photo: bellmon1/Flickr

France's highest administrative court has suspended a town's ban on wearing the full-body burqini swimsuit.

Milk price raised, but French farmers still unhappy
The sign on the tractor reads 'We're dying', as farmers blocked Lactalis dairy headquarters. Photo: AFP

Milk prices have been raised by France's biggest dairy group to placate farmers, but unions say their demands have not been met.

Burqini bans 'dividing France's Muslim women'
Photo: AFP

The burqini bans have divided France, but they have also left Muslim women in France in two groups, argues a professor who has spent years studying the impact of the burqa.

Pizza-delivery drones could be on their way to France
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's your pizza. Photo: AFP

No more need to deal with grumpy French waiters...

Heatwave drags on as France faces red-hot weekend
Photo: AFP

France will see searing temperatures on Friday and Saturday, as the heatwave warnings have been extended (once again).

Nice: The French capital of burqini fines
The beach in the Riviera city of Nice. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP

It's one of only two of the 30 towns with a burqini ban in place to have actually given out any fines.

How to make France's famed Île Flottante dessert
Photo: Paul Oatway

France-based food blogger Laura Tobin shares her recipe for this delicious French dessert.

France's top court set to rule on burqini ban
Photo: bellmon1/Flickr

France's highest administrative court will decide this afternoon whether to overturn the burqini ban.

Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Education
French schools to ramp up security with 'mock attacks'
Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
Features
Where to go in France to find the best ice cream
National
Majority in France against burqinis on beaches
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Society
Parisians invited to swim in the Bassin de la Villette
Society
Five tips for surviving an internship in France
Politics
Déja vu? Familiar faces in France's presidential race
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
Meet the man paying off burqini fines in France
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Eight tips on buying wine in a French supermarket
Society
Here's how to enjoy Paris (while avoiding the heat)
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Society
Ten mistakes to avoid when dating a Frenchman
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Society
Twelve 'French' things that aren't actually French at all
'World's priciest home' on sale in French Riviera for €1 billion
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Lifestyle
RECIPE: How to make the tastiest ratatouille
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Paris sees Europe's biggest plunge in 'liveability'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
National
Life on the home front in rural France's 'war on terror'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Features
Weird facts you didn't know about the French language
Society
Paris foodie event cancelled over lack of security
How to tackle six of the trickiest French verbs
National
Summer in France - 'the ideal time to find a job'
National
'Burqini bans will only divide France more'
National
French vineyards revive horse-drawn ploughs
French mayor bans Pokemon Go app from his village
2,755
jobs available