Rebel faction of France's right-wing UMP dissolved

15th January 2013, Comments 0 comments

A rebel parliamentary faction of France's right-wing opposition UMP was dissolved on Tuesday after the rivals in a bitter leadership contest agreed to hold a new internal vote in September.

UMP parliamentary leader Christian Jacob said the R-UMP, formed late last year by dissidents backing ex-prime minister Francois Fillon, had been officially dissolved at a meeting of party leaders in the National Assembly.

The creation of the R-UMP saw 73 lawmakers break ranks with the UMP in support of Fillon's bid for the leadership against current party chief Jean-Francois Cope.

The damaging row, which followed a disputed leadership vote in November, threatened to bring about the collapse of the UMP, the political heir to the movement founded by Charles de Gaulle after World War II and the power base of ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy.

The two camps last month agreed to hold a new leadership vote in September.

In an interview with newsweekly L'Express due to appear Wednesday, Cope insisted he had been the rightful winner of the vote and accused his opponents of carrying out a "hateful" campaign against him.

"Yes. I was elected... But I have no desire to rewrite history," Cope said, describing the dispute as a personal and political "wound".

© 2013 AFP

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