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Fillon sets up breakaway group

The ex-prime minister is calling his new parliamentary group ‘Rassemblement UMP’

WOULD-BE leader of the UMP opposition party François Fillon has announced he is setting up a new breakaway group in parliament.

As feuding continues between the Fillon and Jean-François Copé camps, the Sarkozy-era prime minister says his supporters will call themselves “Rassemblement-UMP”. The term means “rally” or “bringing together” and recalls the name of UMP forerunner Rassemblement Pour la République (RPR).

Fillon said he would abandon the idea if a new party leadership vote is held – an idea which ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy is said to have backed when they lunched together yesterday. This should happen within three months, he demands.

Supporters say he would also abandon plans to launch a legal challenge to the outcome of the elections, which – after re-examination by party appeals body the Commission des Recours – now sees Copé hailed winner by 952 votes, up from the 98 after the original vote on November 18.

After that vote there were counter-accusations on both sides of wrongdoing in the way votes were counted. In the end, the commission, which Fillon says is too weighted with Copé supporters, accepted most of the Copé camps’ claims but rejected Fillon’s.

Copé said on France Info that “now is not the right time, in the emotion of the moment, in bitterness and regret, to say ‘we must re-vote straight away’.”
Photo: Rama Wikimedia Commons
Previous story: Sarkozy intervenes in UMP leadership

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