France’s centre-right UMP party announced Jean-Francois Cope as its new leader on Monday, following a leadership vote marred by allegations of election fraud.
His rival Francois Fillon contested the decision after Cope had been declared victorious a week ago, winning by just 98 votes out of 173,000 cast.
The revised results by an internal committee show Cope winning 952 votes. Following the result the candidate said:
“The National Commission of Appeal has confirmed my election with an even greater number in my favour. The result is there, and now everybody must respect your vote and the rules of our political family.”
But Fillon, who initially claimed he would have won had the overseas votes not been accidentally omitted, continued to contest the decision.
The former prime minister called it “illegal” and a “power grab”, so the soap opera within the UMP seems set to continue.