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French centre-right opposition in disarray

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French centre-right opposition in disarray


France’s centre-right opposition is once more in disarray. Former Prime Minister Francois Fillon is contesting the result of the UMP party’s leadership race just hours after his rival Jean Francois-Copé won by a whisker.

Fillon now claims that votes from three overseas territories were not counted. He has called on former Prime Minister Alain Juppé to take over while an inquiry is held. But Juppé has said he will only do so if both sides work together, which so far is not the case.

After delays due to accusations of ballot-rigging on both sides, Copé was eventually declared the new leader of the French centre-right with a lead of 98 votes. Fillon’s team say he would have won by 26 votes had the missing ballots been counted.

Fillon says he does not plan to officially appeal but wants the election committee to reverse its decision. The continuing chaos will no doubt provide welcome relief to the Socialist government, taking the focus off its plunge in ratings.

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