Raging Battle for UMP Presidency Continues

The fight between the two former candidates for the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP) presidency is still raging. Jean-François Copé considers himself to be the winner of the election that took place on Sunday, November 18, but his opponent, François Fillon, still refuses to accept the results. Despite Fillon’s claim that there were massive irregularities in the voting process, the commission that examined his request declared Copé president of the UMP on November 26.

François Fillon.
Photo: Flickr.com/World Economic Forum

To avoid the division threatening the party, embodied by Fillon’s threat to seek justice in court, Alain Juppé was called upon to help the adversaries find a truce. Unfortunately, Juppé, respected figure and founder of the party, failed to find an actual solution, facing the complete refusal of Copé. The only solution left seemed to be that of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who suggested a referendum that proposed a new note. Until this point, Sarkozy had remained silent and distant from his party since his defeat. For a very short moment, it seemed that he had found an end to the crisis.

On Tuesday November 27, in Sarkozy’s presence, the two parties had agreed on the referendum to ask the members of the party about a new vote. Surprisingly, Copé agreed to those terms, on the condition that Fillon would withdraw his threat to form his own group of representatives in the Assembly. Fillon and his supporters had found in that solution a way to protest against Copé’s presidency without actually breaking from the UMP.

Jean-François Copé.
Photo: Flickr.com/ Guillaume Paumier

Nevertheless, despite the agreement, the announcement of the creation of the parliamentary group, called the Rassemblement-UMP, was published early in the morning on Wednesday November 28. Apparently, Fillon and his supporters did not agree with how the referendum would take place. They criticized the neutrality of the whole process, with Copé currently running the UMP and all its institutions.

Copé’s response was clear: the agreement was no longer valid and he considered himself to be the permanent president of the UMP. He declared on the radio Europe 1 that since “there is a dissident parliamentary group, that is exactly the opposite of what we had agreed on, I believe that now everyone understands what must be understood.” Then, he concluded with a definitive sentence, “the red line was crossed, I’m drawing the consequences from it.”

This new event was the final straw for many members of the party, triggering criticisms from some important UMP figures who consider themselves to be neutral, such as Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet.

Fillon tried to reach out once again, saying that he would dissolve his parliamentary group and stop his legal proceedings, as soon as the two parts could find an agreement on the conditions of a new vote. However this was not enough for Copé, who refused the proposal. Fillon also specified that he would still financially link his parliamentary group to the UMP one. (The number of representatives who belong to a group in the Assembly means a certain amount of money for their party.)

Around midday, Copé offered Fillon to create a fully independent commission to organize the referendum, on condition that Fillon would dissolve his group before 3 p.m. on Wednesday November 28. Indeed, Fillon wanted a guarantee before he started dissolving his group, while Copé wants Fillon to dissolve his group first.

At 3 p.m., the situation seemed to be in dead lock. Fillon’s dissident group in the Assembly still exists, but there has been talk of a solution in the near future. However, this might only be just a wish from the people who have been struggling to follow the news.

Check back for updates. We will add to the article as necessary.


  1. […] one week, the UMP has deteriorated its image and the crisis has continued. While Juppé, Fillon and Copé have agreed to meet this Sunday night, a compromise agreement still […]

  2. […] race for president of the UMP party, a vote that was meant to be resolved on November 18, before Cope was accused of voter fraud. In this light, Cope’s dispute of the socialist President’s reforms seems to be a distraction […]

  3. […] battle for the head of the UMP has been raging on for well over two weeks, but despite attemps at mediation, negotiations have not gotten very far. A new meeting scheduled […]

  4. […] –       Jury Award for UMP President Jean-François Copé for “In the UMP we are learning democracy, that’s new,” in reference to the disaster of the first UMP Presidency election. […]

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