UMP Divides Along Copé-Fillon Lines as Standstill Continues

François Fillon and his supporters in the National Assembly created a dissident group this Tuesday.Photo: Flickr.com/World Economic Forum

François Fillon and his supporters in the National Assembly created a dissident group this Tuesday.
Photo: Flickr.com/World Economic Forum

The 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 for Wednesday has been cancelled by Jean-François Copé ,who said he was not available. François Fillon’s entourage claims he is actually just trying to play the clock.

His last proposition on Monday was to hold a referendum and a new vote in 2014, right after the French local elections, which would allow that person to be the leader of the party going into the 2017 elections. The proposition was immediatetly rejected by Fillon who wants a new vote “in the reasonably close future.”

The party moved one step closer to a rift, as a dissident UMP group in Parlement known as RUMP (rassemblement UMP) was created this Tuesday December 4 by François Fillon and 72 deputies following him, leaving the UMP group with only 122 members.

This is a major event. Not only does it send a signal, it also grants the group both a right to speak on their own time at the National Assembly, and a check of 42,000 euros per member each year. Being the head of such a group, Fillon can also ask for a suspension of a session, and ask for an inquiry commission. All of these new possibilities give the dissident group a fighting chance against Copé as head of the UMP.

Socialist Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault used the occasion to take a jab at the UMP during Tuesday’s Questions to the government, starting his answer with  “M. Leader of the… UMP, was it?” He also thanked the dissident group RUMP for sending in their questions in advance, causing massive booing from the Right. The Parti Socialiste (PS) has shown great restraint so far, keeping its jokes about the UMP situation only as a counter-attack measure for facing criticism.

In the wake of the crisis, a third group has emerged – calling themselves the “non-aligned.” They are neither Copé nor Fillon partisans. Criticizing the current situation as endangering the party, they follow an estimated 80% of UMP sympathizers who say they want a new election, according to a recent study. They also want the dissolution of RUMP.

While the crisis settles in, interest for the UMP situation seems to be dying down. News of their standstill is leaving the headlines to make way for issues in government affairs, leading the PS to look more professional, as its opponents continue to bicker.

Trackbacks

  1. […] three weeks of internal havoc and division of the UMP into two groups-those supporting Copé and those backing Fillon-the proposed new election cannot wait any […]

  2. […] Following November’s election to determine the head of France’s right-of-center political party, the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), candidates Jean-François Copé and François Fillon have finally come to an agreement to resolve the disputed outcome. […]

  3. […] Last year, the UMP wore itself out as a dispute over who would become the new head of the party dragged on for three weeks without any resolution. The declared winner, Jean-François Copé, wouldn’t budge, and poll […]

  4. […] winner of the battle for the head of the UMP against François Fillon, but dissensions still remained between party members over the past few months. After signing an agreement, Fillon admitted a new […]

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