Warring French right looks to Sarkozy as a savior



REUTERS

Published — Tuesday 27 November 2012

Last update 27 November 2012 3:57 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

PARIS: Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy met yesterday one of the two men locked in a vicious dispute over succeeding him as conservative party leader, after one of the party’s founders begged him to step in to save it from implosion.
Sarkozy, who had until now steered clear of an ugly week-long dispute over who won a Nov. 18 party leadership vote, held a mid-day meeting with Francois Fillon, who is mounting a legal challenge to rival Jean-Francois Cope’s razor-thin victory.
The lunch meeting came hours after Alain Juppe, a center right veteran and former prime minister, abandoned his bid to mediate a solution following fruitless talks with the warring UMP rivals and said Sarkozy could be the party’s last hope.
The dispute, described by conservative daily Le Figaro as “live suicide,” threatens to tear apart a party whose mission when founded a decade ago was to tie together the centrist and harder right factions that Fillon and Cope stand for.
“It seems clear that (Sarkozy) is the only person today with enough authority to propose a solution where I cannot see one,” Juppe told RTL radio. “It’s in his hands.” Two-thirds of UMP supporters want Sarkozy to run in the 2017 presidential election despite his vow to quit politics when he lost power in May, and analysts see the current feud increasing the chances of his staging a comeback.
Fillon, who was prime minister under Sarkozy but has a more centrist stance, made no comment as he arrived for their talks.
Cope, a disciple of Sarkozy with hard-line views on issues like immigration, told BFM television that Fillon’s decision to take legal action was the wrong way to end the quarrel.
The botched contest to find a successor to Sarkozy, which descended into chaos as both camps accused each other of ballot-stuffing, has made a laughing stock of a party that held the presidency for a decade until the Socialists’ May election win.
It is turning into a boon for President Francois Hollande as he grapples with a flat lining economy and slumping ratings.
“It is hard to see how the UMP continues as a party after this,” Arthur Goldhammer, an expert at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University, wrote in his French politics blog. “Clearly this is a saga that will not play out in a day.” The debacle has exposed a deep split over the party’s gradual shift to the right on issues such as immigration and religion that could now reshape the political landscape.
At worst, analysts predict a break-up of a party that former President Jacques Chirac founded to keep the right on a centrist path set by General Charles de Gaulle after World War Two.



Even if the party can hold together, the feud risks distracting the UMP for months from its role as the main opposition party, benefiting both the left and the far-right ahead of local elections in 2014.
“This bad soap opera has to end because democracy needs an operational opposition,” the Socialist Party said in a tweet.
Le Figaro urged Fillon and Cope in a front-page editorial to “stop the massacre” and said the “pitiful spectacle” of their week long sparring was an insult to politics.
Hollande had been due to meet Cope, as UMP leader, yesterday to discuss institutional changes but the meeting was postponed after Cope rejected Juppe’s suggestion of forming a new, more neutral, committee to determine the result of the Nov. 18 vote.
The UMP appeals committee was due to give its latest verdict today on the vote, which Cope says he won by 98 votes out of nearly 175,000 cast. Fillon says he would have won by 26 votes had about 1,000 overseas ballots not been excluded.
Juppe said it was possible the UMP could hold a fresh vote, an idea backed by 71 percent of the public according to an opinion poll published in the weekly Journal du Dimanche on Sunday. Cope said the idea made no sense.
Cope, who has said he would put his presidential ambitions on hold if Sarkozy decided to run in 2017, also said he believed his mentor had no intention of interfering in the vote.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The Ministry of Education (MoE) has allocated over 180 clinics for schools in Riyadh and directed all its departments across the Kingdom to recruit health advisers at schools with more than 100 students.Work has already started on introducing...
RIYADH: The Moroccan experience in desert tourism is largely similar to that of Saudi Arabia, which boasts of a unique diversity in culture in its different regions, Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National...
JAZAN: Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited the advanced field hospital of the Armed Forces in Jazan on Tuesday.He was reassured about the injured in the ongoing battle. He conveyed the greetings of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King S...
JEDDAH: The planned “North Thunder” military exercise is a clear message to Iran and the countries in the region it supports that any hostile intentions and actions will be firmly dealt with, an expert has said.The military drill is scheduled to be h...
RIYADH: Syrian conjoined twins will be separated at the King Abdullah Specialist Children’s Hospital at the King Abdul Aziz Medical City (KAMC) in Riyadh on Sunday.According to a KAMC spokesman, the forthcoming surgery will be the fourth and final st...
JEDDAH: Education Minister Ahmed Al-Issa has issued an order to establish a department for school security. It will be be linked organizationally to the general supervisor of school safety and security at the ministry.According to the decision, schoo...
JEDDAH: From delivering mails for Saudi Aramco to captaining Saudi Arabian Airlines’ first flight to New York, Jazza Al-Shammari’s career story is unique.“I started my career as a postman with Saudi Aramco in 1959 and continued the primary studies at...
RIYADH: A team of the King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center (KFSHRC) has identified a gene responsible for cardiomyopathy.Dr. Zuhair bin Nasser Al-Hasnan, KFSHRC medical genetics consultant, said the team conducted a study on a Saudi...
JEDDAH: The Pakistan Welfare Society (PWS) organized a free medical camp and discussion on health for women at the Pakistani Consulate recently.Doctors and specialists diagnosed patients and distributed free medicines to needy patients, and arranged...
JEDDAH: Yemen Vice President and Prime Minister Khaled Bahah has thanked Saudi Arabia for standing by his country during tough times.Speaking at the World Government Summit in Dubai on Tuesday, he said: “Our GCC brothers, particularly Saudi Arabia, s...
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia joined the rest of the world in intensifying public awareness on cancer with activities spread over the week supporting the global cause that aims to save millions of lives every year by raising awareness and education about the...
RIYADH: Chairman of ACWA Power International Mohammed Abu Nayyan thanked King Mohammed VI of Morocco for personally inaugurating Morocco’s first solar power plant, Noor1, built by an international consortium led by his company.“We were extremely priv...
RIYADH: The Ministry of Health is considering imposing an asset declaration as well as an absence of interest conflict testimony on its employees as a measure in fighting corruption.Health Minister Khalid Al-Falih made the announcement at a one-day f...
DAMMAM: Abdussalam Kanniyan, chairman of the International Indian School in Dammam (IISD), has been honored with the “Person of the Year 2015” award by Vatakara NRI Forum, a community group in the Eastern Province.The award was based on his outstandi...
RIYADH: Andrej Plenkovic, the leader of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee delegation, on Tuesday hailed Saudi Arabia for its yeoman services in looking after the displaced Syrians in countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.“We fu...

Stay Connected

Facebook