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Sarkozy plays peace broker to feuding UMP leadership contenders

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Sarkozy plays peace broker to feuding UMP leadership contenders


Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has waded into the leadership row threatening to splinter his conservative UMP party.

His intervention follows a deep rift after former Prime Minister François Fillon lost the leadership ballot to Jean-Francois Copé.

Fillon alleged voter fraud and has created a splinter group within the party.

But following a face-to-face meeting with Sarkozy on Tuesday, Copé says the two will let party activists decide by referendum whether they want a re-vote.

The truce comes after ten days of in-fighting which even President Francois Hollande’s Socialists have pleaded should end.

Fillon threatened to go to court over the outcome but says he will settle for a vote re-run, so long as it avoids any further public dispute over the outcome.

Sarkozy was said to be “exasperated” by the feud which led to worries that the party could be permanently damaged and could even break-up.

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