• France's news in English
 

Copé and Fillon edge towards new election

Published: 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
France to enlist hackers to tackle jihadists
The hackers will help stop jihadist recruiters before they've convinced young French nationals to join their cause. Photo: AFP

France to enlist hackers to tackle jihadists

France's Prime Minister Manuel Valls has announced that he plans to turn to computer hackers, often the scourge of governments worldwide, in order to infiltrate online jihadist networks. READ  

Europe takes France to task for Uber crackdown
France's crackdown on Uber may not be that legal after all. Photo: AFP

Europe takes France to task for Uber crackdown

Regulators in Brussels are pressuring France over a new law designed to halt the meteoric rise of Uber, the popular taxi app that is facing fierce opposition from traditional cabs. READ  

Paris migrant camp taken down over scabies fears
Hundreds of migrants, mostly from East Africa, live in this camp, some for a year, under the elevated railway near the Porte de la Chapelle. Photo: AFP

Paris migrant camp taken down over scabies fears

The 400 migrants who had set up a temporary shelter not far from Montmartre in northern Paris have been told to leave after officials warned of the high risks of epidemic sicknesses spreading. READ  

France bans smoking in childrens playgrounds
Lighting up will be banned in French playgrounds this summer. Photo: AFP

France bans smoking in childrens playgrounds

France’s crackdown on tobacco will continue this summer as the government announced this week smokers will no longer be allowed to light up in playgrounds. READ  

What's the story behind French Neighbours' Day?
Families get together in the northern suburbs of Paris on Neighbour's Day. Photo: AFP

What's the story behind French Neighbours' Day?

Friday marks Neighbours' Day (Fête des Voisins), a celebration that has spread across the world after it was created in France. Find out how the discovery of a dead woman's body prompted the movement, and how you're expected to take part. READ  

Ten Tips - Pickpockets
How to avoid the Paris Metro pickpockets
Thieves love "the overcrowded Paris Metro, where pushing, shoving, stumbling and chaos of every variety are always just around the corner." Photo: Thomas Ulrich

How to avoid the Paris Metro pickpockets

You might be a seasoned pro on the Paris Metro, or just visiting for a few days. Either way, you will need to watch out for ingenious pickpockets working the French capital’s underground rail network. Here's a guide on how to avoid being robbed. READ  

Crime in Paris
How Eiffel Tower thieves earned €4,000 a day each
Crowds regularly swarm beneath the Eiffel Tower. Photo: Krzysztof Belczyński/Flickr

How Eiffel Tower thieves earned €4,000 a day each

Paris police busted a pickpocket gang this week, who "earned" up to €4,000 a day each in peak season by preying on tourists at the Eiffel Tower. But how exactly were they pinching your belongings? Here's a closer look. READ  

VIDEO: Top five street scams to avoid in Paris
Here are five street scams everyone should know about in Paris. Photo: Screengrab/YouTube

VIDEO: Top five street scams to avoid in Paris

As ten members of the Eiffel Tower gang of pickpockets are caught, we take a look at five well-known street scams that tourists and visitors to Paris regularly fall victim to. READ  

Dining in Paris
Paris chefs embrace rooftop gardens
Frame Brasserie sous-chef Ogier Pottiez picks plants the rooftop of the Pullman Eiffel Tower hotel in Paris. Photo: AFP

Paris chefs embrace rooftop gardens

Chefs in Paris are taking the concept of "eating locally" to heart, with rooftop gardens sprouting up around the French capital. And they say the concept is here to stay. READ  

National Front demands EU referendum in France
Should the French also have a referendum on their membership in the EU? Photo: AFP

National Front demands EU referendum in France

David Cameron's pledge to hold an in/out referendum on Britain's membership of the EU has been backed by France's far right National Front party, which wants the same in France, where views of the EU have soured over the years. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Paris signals the end of the love lock
International
VIDEO: Top five street scams to avoid in Paris
What's on in France: Ten things to do in June
Study: Over 40 percent of the French don't shower every day
Opinion: Can France's new mega university rival the best?
'We need to talk about Europe... and what it has brought the UK'
National
Look what you can buy in France for the price of a London flat
France honours four French Resistance heros
Culture
The French film that cinemas are too scared to show
Features
How many of these stunning Paris streets have YOU walked down?
National
British woman bites off French reveller's thumb
National
200 years on, why is Waterloo still taboo for the French?
Features
Take a tour of the best Metro stations that Paris has to offer
National
Soon there'll be a fixed fare for a taxi ride from the airport into Paris
National
Drug dealers in Marseille are offering customers loyalty cards
Soon there'll be no minimum for using your bank card in France
Features
Fancy starting a business and living in Paris? There's help available
National
Are you fearing a Brexit? Maybe it's time to become a French citizen
How hard-up French are tempted by money to take migrants to the UK
Bupa
Sponsored Article
Healthcare: 9 questions every expat should ask
Education
More English words (including 'le selfie') sneak into French
Charlie Hebdo to give €4.3m to attack victims
National
French Protestants bless gay marriage
Opinion
Why elitism is dragging France down
Features
RECIPE: How to make your own picnic-perfect meringues
Business & Money
French tax declaration deadline: Key things to remember
VIDEO: Can YOU pronounce the trickiest word in French?
France tops holiday wish list for children
National
Study: Women do bulk of housework in France
National
VIDEO: Police use force on Calais migrants
National
This man is France's Instagram king. But who else makes the top list?
Features
Free museum entry, film festivals, sports... see What's On this in May
Culture
Behind the curtain: A closer look at the Cannes Film Festival
National
It's a boy! Baby born on Air France flight to Paris
Features
Love-locked: Whatever happened to Paris's beautiful bridges?
'Forget the UK election, expats should be able to vote in France'
Thomas Piketty backs Miliband for Britain but not Hollande for France
Gallery
The most spectacular sunset pictures from around France
National
France tells migrants in Calais to 'forget the UK and stay here'
Society
VIDEO: See what's beneath the surface of the French Riviera
National
French teen suicide after sex video web bullying
France launches bid to buy Europe's biggest and most spectacular dune
Double standards? French Muslim barred from class over long skirt
National
France goes on the defensive after UN experts say 'racism is trivialised'
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