• France edition
 
Copé and Fillon edge towards new election
Jean-François Copé and François Fillon photographed earlier this year. Photo: Marie-Lan Nguyen

Copé and Fillon edge towards new election

Published: 17 Dec 2012 10:00 GMT+01:00
Updated: 17 Dec 2012 10:00 GMT+01:00

After a month of bitter recriminations, Jean-François Copé, who won last month's hotly disputed leadership battle, appeared Sunday to have accepted the new vote after a telephone conversation with his rival, former prime minister François Fillon.

Previously, Copé had refused any fresh vote before the 2014 local elections.

Copé's camp told AFP that Copé had made the concession in a bid to calm the damaging row. The September 2013 date would fall mid-way between the March 2014 vote he had initially wanted and the March 2013 deadline Fillon had set.

The question of dates had been the major blocking point in the battle between the two camps.

It leaves the way clear to negotiating the reunification of the party in parliament. 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.

Talks to settle that matter were set for Monday, sources in both camps said.

Copé told AFP Sunday he was confident he could reach an agreement with Fillon.

"The problem of the calendar for a new election was the last sticking point between us," he said.

"The mediation of (former prime minister) Jean-Pierre Raffarin allowed us to advance in a very positive manner," he added.

Once the two sides had settled the other issues, he added, Fillon's R-UMP would begin the process of dissolving itself, "as that has always been the understanding," he added.

In the meantime, he would stay on as president of the party, he said.

"Not everything has been settled but there has been real progress," said Fillon's spokesman, Jerôme Chartier.

Fillon issued a statement welcoming Copé's willingness to agree to the September vote. He too said that the two factions of the party could be reunited once they had finalised their negotiations.

The deal between the two rivals appears to have headed off a referendum planned for Tuesday of UMP deputies and senators on the question of whether there should be a fresh leadership vote before next summer.

Both leaders would like to see the UMP united before the next parliamentary session opens, on January 15, so as to present an effective opposition to the government of Socialist President Francois Hollande.

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.

Sources close to ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy have said he was infuriated by the deadlock after the November 18 UMP election that was marred by allegations of irregularities and ballot-stuffing.

The UMP, the political heir to the movement founded by Charles De Gaulle after World War II, has been on the verge of collapse over the bitter and very public dispute between Copé and Fillon.

Both Fillon, 58, and Cope, 48, are fiscal conservatives advocating free-market policies and economic reforms, but Cope has carved out a niche on the right of the UMP with his tough-talking approach to immigration and Islam.    

Sarkozy has no official post in the UMP after his defeat in the May presidential election to Hollande.

But he is anxious to keep the UMP together in case he decides to make a comeback bid for the presidency in 2017.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
French inmate shows off drug stash on Facebook
The inmate posted the videos and photos onto Facebook. Prison photo and Facebook photo: Shutterstock

French inmate shows off drug stash on Facebook

In a series of videos and photos more reminiscent of a holiday camp than a prison, an inmate in southern France has given a taste of his hedonistic life behind bars – including cannabis and mobile phones. READ  

Dozens arrested after clash over dead protester
Police made dozens of arrests at a protest Wednesday in Paris. Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP

Dozens arrested after clash over dead protester

A demonstration against the death of a protester killed in a clash with police itself turned violent in Paris on Wednesday, with some hurling bottles and rocks at riot police. At least 33 people were in police custody after the confrontations. READ  

Drones over French nuke sites prompt probe
The first drone was spotted on October 5th above a plant in deconstruction in eastern Creys-Malville, according to EDF. File photo: Nicolas Tucat/AFP

Drones over French nuke sites prompt probe

France's state-run power firm EDF on Wednesday said unidentified drones had flown over seven nuclear plants this month, leading it to file a complaint with the police. READ  

The Local List
Ten things to never say to a French person
Here's what you should never say in France. Photo: Shutterstock

Ten things to never say to a French person

Ah, France. The land of lazy workers, surrender and adulterers. Come again? Say that stuff to a French person’s face and chances are you've made them really angry. Here we’ve listed some of the worst things you can say to a French man or woman. READ  

French staff sergeant killed in Mali clash
French troops intervened in Mali in January 2013 to chase out hardline Islamists. Photo: Joel Saget/AFP

French staff sergeant killed in Mali clash

A French staff sergeant was killed in northern Mali early on Wednesday in an operation by French forces against "an armed terrorist group", President Francois Hollande's office said. READ  

Russia not to get warship just yet: French minister
Paris faces mounting pressure from Western partners to scrap the deal over Russia's role in the Ukraine crisis. Photo: AFP

Russia not to get warship just yet: French minister

The conditions are not yet in place for France to deliver a controversial warship to Russia, the French finance minister said on Thursday, after Moscow said the handover would take place next month. READ  

These French wines will be great this year
These are the French wines expected to be great this year. Cheers photo: Shutterstock

These French wines will be great this year

A gorgeous Indian Summer helped France reclaim its title as world's top wine producer this year, but the weather also is expected to result in some really good vino. These are wines that should be great this year. READ  

Russians say France will hand over warship
Russia says it will take delivery of a controversial French-made warship. Photo: AFP

Russians say France will hand over warship

Russia says it's due to receive its French-made Mistral warship by November 14th, according to AFP, potentially ending months of speculation over whether France would fold to international pressure to not conclude the deal. READ  

Parisian bars that serve drinkers free meals
Places in Paris where dinner is the price of a pint. Photo: Simon Thomas/Luca Nebuloni/Flickr

Parisian bars that serve drinkers free meals

Hitting the bars in Paris can be a pricey affair, but as part of a unique custom many serve full meals for free to people who buy a drink. The Local has collected its 10 favorite bars that'll feed you for free. READ  

French union spends €130k to fix boss's flat
A powerful French union has some explaining to do about its expenditures. Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP

French union spends €130k to fix boss's flat

One of France's top labour unions was facing uncomfortable questions on Wednesday over reports it had spent €130,000 to rehab an apartment for its top boss. Plans for property had at one point included a wine cellar and home cinema. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sponsored Article
Offer: Unlimited airmiles from British Airways
National
Eight Halloween events not to miss in Paris
National
France falls to Germans in nude swim tourney
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Nowhere combines sex and art quite like France
National
Why you should never turn down an invitation to a French wedding
Sport
Discover the route of the 2015 Tour de France. There are a few surprises
Gallery
Ten changes that would make learning French so much easier
Culture
IN PICTURES: 'Glass ship' Vuitton ready to set sail in Paris
International
How a giant 'sex toy' earned an American artist a slap in Paris
National
'Unlike in the US the French don't put the blame on the poor'
Gallery
Cover up and don't be too Latin: French travel warnings for the US
Society
Macholand: The online uprising against sexism in France
Gallery
In pictures: The daily life of the 2,000 migrants in Calais
Culture
Erotic promo video earns the Musée d'Orsay our "Only in France" award
International
'I love the UK, but I could die getting there': Struggles of Calais migrants
National
Seven reasons why everyone should work in a bar in France
National
The cost of expat home comforts: How France compares to Europe
International
Why don't Calais migrants stay in France? The Local went to find out
National
What are the pros and cons of working as an au pair in France?
Society
Is France's generous welfare state about to get a little stingier?
Gallery
Extraordinary images of ordinary life in the poor Paris suburbs
Gallery
10 things expats love and loathe about life in France
National
So why don't many women in France breastfeed?
National
'Stop bashing La Belle France' - French PM tells UK press
International
UK warns Brits of 'high threat' from terrorism' in France
National
VIDEO: 'The Kama Sutra is not a dirty little text'
National
What Rome could teach Paris and vice versa
Gallery
What do foreign countries warn their citizens about when visiting France?
Gallery
IN IMAGES: Eiffel Tower opens new glass floor above Paris
Society
Is it really better to grow old in the UK and the US rather than France?
Gallery
It's that time if the year again: French sportsmen reveal (almost) all
Gallery
So what do the French find really weird about Anglos?
Travel
Paris museums to open seven days a week but unions are not happy
Culture
Caption contest: What happened when Jay Z met Sark O?
International
This explains why the French never seem to get a sense of déjà vu?
National
VIDEO: Here's a view from the Eiffel Tower you haven't seen before
Travel
Do Paris's iconic rooftops deserve Unesco World Heritage status?
Opinion
'France cannot reform, the pilots' strike showed us this'
National
'We just don’t work hard enough in France.' Is that true?
International
France has moved to beef up security in various public places
National
Hiking naked in France does not come risk-free
Culture
10 French customs that confuse Anglos
National
IN PICTURES: A look inside France's 'most notorious' prison
International
Isis urges killing of 'spiteful, dirty' French
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