By Louise Riondel
By Louise Riondel
Morocco World News
Rennes, France, Nov 21, 2012
The UMP (Union for a Popular Movement) is currently in the middle of a terrible battle for the leadership of the party, with both candidates claiming victory and accusing each other of fraud and ballot-stuffing.
The vote, which is the first of this kind in former President Sarkozy’s party, opposed ex-Prime Minister François Fillon and Jean-François Copé, who recently made the headlines with his comment about anti-white racism. After a long campaign during which the political family has been torn between both candidates, members had to vote this past Sunday in order to designate their new leader. As everyone was waiting for the results that evening, it soon became clear that they would be very tight. Both candidates’ allies gave interviews throughout the night, all claiming their victory with different numbers, leaving members and political analysts confused.
Before the official numbers, granting victory to Copé by 98 votes, were finally revealed on Monday, both teams had already warned that they had witnessed fraud, notably in the city of Nice and in Paris.
This fratricidal fight is however far from being over. While the internal electoral commission of the party is still investigating those claims, and after the alleged winner stated that he might offer Fillon the second position in the party, the latter fired back today. Indeed, he asserted that 3 French oversea territories votes had not been taken into account, and that they change the outcome of the election since they clearly give him the lead.
Fillon said tonight on national television that he is not trying to get the job, but that he wants to know what happened, for the honor of the party and to respect its members’ choice. The internal electoral commission has refused to recount the votes, and Fillon calls for the temporary leadership of former President of the party Alain Juppé, until the mystery is solved.
The party, which was defeated in the last presidential election and is in the opposition for the first time in 10 years, will clearly not get out intact and undamaged of this chaotic episode. For most of its members, the situation is appalling. The Front National (far right) has strongly attacked the party, claiming it is no longer credible, and for center parties, this event is only the proof that the party founded by Jacques Chirac has lost its monopoly.