France's National Front says ex-UMP are heading far right
France's far-right National Front party said Thursday it was having an "explosion" of popularity amid the battle over the leadership of the main right-wing opposition UMP.
The number of members joining the National Front (FN) each day quadrupled amid the UMP crisis to hit 600 a day, according to National Assembly deputy Marion Marechal Le Pen, grandaughter of FN founder Jean-Marie Le Pen.
"We assume that a good number of them are coming from the UMP," she said.
"The French are beginning to realise, based on the explosion of new members, that we are the only real option," Marion Marechal Le Pen said.
The November 18 election for the UMP presidency turned ugly after Jean-Francois Cope defeated ex-prime minister Francois Fillon amid accusations of fraud and ballot rigging.
Even ex-president and party heavyweight Nicolas Sarkozy, who met with both Cope and Fillon, has not been able to resolve the conflict and the dispute has done significant damage to the UMP's image.
© 2012 AFP