• France edition
 

UMP mulls referendum on new leadership vote

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

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.

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Mayor files complaint against 'reckless' US dad
A French mayor has filed a complaint against an American father for tying to climb Mont Blanc with his kids. Photo: screengrab ABC news

Mayor files complaint against 'reckless' US dad

A French mayor has logded a formal complaint against an American father whose "vain" attempt to break a world record by taking his kids to the summit of Mont Blanc almost ended in disaster. READ  

France weighs medicine sales at supermarkets
Could medicine soon be available in supermarkets in France? Photo: Charly Triballeau/AFP

France weighs medicine sales at supermarkets

France’s top financial watchdog says it’s time to end the monopoly pharmacies have on selling over-the-counter medicines like paracetamol as well as cold and flu remedies. The watchdog believes introducing competition will bring down prices. READ  

Air Algérie crash: pilots asked to 'turn back'
This photo shows debris of the Air Algerie Flight AH 5017 scattered at the crash site in Mali's Gossi region, west of Gao, on July 26, 2014. Photo: AFP

Air Algérie crash: pilots asked to 'turn back'

France was mourning on Monday as authorities revealed the pilots aboard the Air Algérie flight had asked permission to turn back just before the jet went down, killing 118 people. Bad weather has been increasingly blamed for the accident. READ  

France offers asylum to Iraqi Christians
France has offered asylum to Iraqi Christians displaced by islamist militants. Photo: Karim Sahib/AFP

France offers asylum to Iraqi Christians

France has offered asylum to thousands of Christians in Iraq displaced by threats and violence from the jihadists who have invaded portions of the country. The islamists have given Christians the ultimatum of convert or leave. READ  

Two Irish montaineers killed on Mont Blanc
Two climbers incuding one Irishman were killed in a fall on Mont Blanc on Sunday. Photo: Philippe Merle/AFP

Two Irish montaineers killed on Mont Blanc

Two Irishmen were killed in after slipping and falling in the Mont Blanc range on Sunday. It comes after an American businessman outraged French authorities for trying to scale the mountain with his young children. READ  

Tourists picnic with rats in Louvre gardens
Another Parisian rat. Photo: Jean-Jacques Boujot.

Tourists picnic with rats in Louvre gardens

VIDEO: The lawns of the Louvre, a favourite picnic haunt of tourists and Parisians, are offering visitors a real-life Ratatouille experience after being invaded by rodents. READ  

France's Muslims mark the end of 'holiest month'
France's Muslims will mark the end of holiest month on Monday. Photo: Boris Horvat/AFP

France's Muslims mark the end of 'holiest month'

France’s Muslim population, which is the largest in Europe, will end on Monday its holiest festival of the year: Ramadan. However, the date is not without controversy due to the unique way the annual rite’s duration is chosen. READ  

Lion wounds 16-month-old child at French circus
A lion injured a child at a French circus. Photo: Alexandre Imamura/Flickr

Lion wounds 16-month-old child at French circus

A lion reached out of its cage and scratched a 16-month-old girl at a circus in France on Sunday, injuring the child's head and back. The news came the same day as a not guilty verdict for the owner of a circus elephant that killed an elderly pétanque player. READ  

Marseille: Pro-Israel march held amid tension
Thousands march in support of Israel in Marseille. Photo: Boris Horvat/AFP

Marseille: Pro-Israel march held amid tension

Up to 6,000 demonstrators marched through the French city of Marseille on Sunday in support of Israel. The rally was held amid tight security as dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters tried to disrupt the demonstration. READ  

French nationals told to flee chaos in Libya
Libyan security services and civilians gather across the street after a car bomb attack on the French embassy in Tripoli, Libya on April 23rd, 2013. Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AF

French nationals told to flee chaos in Libya

France has warned its nationals to leave Libya due to the worsening security situation there and the threat of terror attacks. French warnings come amid similar calls for evacuation from other European nations and the United States. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Why you should think twice about feeding stray cats in France
National
And the new redrawn map of France will look like...?
Politics
Is French President François Hollande about to tie the knot?
International
Want a long-term visa? You may soon have to take a French test
International
Votes for foreigners: 'France would be giving up its sovereignty'
National
VIDEO: Stuntman jumps onto a moving Paris metro... and survives
Gallery
Forget 'faire l'amour', here's 15 top French expressions for making love
National
Report - 'Anti-Semitic' riots in France: 'We may leave for Israel'
National
Paris Plages: Here's 10 reasons to head down to the city beach
International
'Mont Blanc is like Disneyland. It's time to end the free-for-all'
Travel
Fancy climbing Mont Blanc? Here's 10 reasons to think twice about it
Gallery
Looking for a weird museum in Paris? Here's 10 that are worth a visit
National
Clear your head: Eight tips for buying wine in a French supermarket
National
'Don't blame the labour market for France's unemployment woes!'
National
Job applicants in France: Be prepared to send in an anonymous CV
Sport
'Bouligans' to booze bans: Ten things you need to know about pétanque
Gallery
Driving in France: How to stay out of trouble on the roads
Travel
Ten essential free phone apps for a visit to Paris
Gallery
Like cycling? Love France? See the top ten best cycling routes in France
International
'They think beer is a vegetable': What the French really think of Germans
National
Sarkozy's dream of a 2017 comeback is not dead yet
Gallery
Ten reasons why France is better than Germany (we're not talking football)
Gallery
Paris in Summer: Ten things to do on a shoestring
Sponsored Article
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se