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Overspending costs Sarkozy party dear

UMP on the brink as it is ordered to repay €11m in election funding after election campaign went over legal limit

OVERSPENDING during the last presidential campaign could bankrupt ex-president Sarkozy’s UMP party after the Conseil Constitutionnel said that it had to repay the €11million it received in government election aid.

The constitutional watchdog said Mr Sarkozy and the UMP had exceeded the legal €22.5m budget for the 2012 campaign by €466,118 because several meetings that he held while president were election meetings and not linked to his presidential function.

His Union pour un Mouvement Populaire is already in financial trouble and the treasurer said this morning it took out a €55m loan over five years to clear it. Since the last election the party has lost €13m in state political funding as it lost 125MPs.

This morning Mr Sarkozy hit back on his Facebook account saying that the “unprecedented situation” puts in danger the party which was preparing an alternative to socialism. He said it had created a new precedent whereby a 2.1% overspend was penalised by the loss of 100% of funding.

UMP president Jean-François Copé said “the voice of the UMP will not be extinguished” and launched a fundraising appeal to members. He called on others unhappy with the Hollande government to sign up.
Photo: Moritz Hager

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