French politics

War is declared

François Fillon, ex-France’s Prime minister, candidate for the legislative elections in Paris

He didn’t wait for the final outcome of the next legislatives to attack. François Fillon, former Nicolas Sarkozy PM and candidate to the National Assembly, recently declared there was no natural leader in the UMP since the leave of Nicolas Sarkozy anymore.

François Fillon explicitly targeted Jean-François Copé, the current UMP Secretary General who wants to remain as leader of the party after the UMP congress of the next fall. This congress will be very important because the one who becomes the UMP leader, will may be the next candidate for the 2017 presidential race.

François Fillon and Jean-François Copé express their intentions and want to appear as responsible and rallying persons, accusing the other to divide the party for personal interests, both. In the coming fight, some UMP personalities already made their choice as Rachida Dati, former minister of Justice and ex-candidate for the legislatives against Fillon, who accuses him to not be loyal, enjoying squaring up with the former PM.

The Fillon – Copé confrontation was predictable such the rivalry and the tensions between the two men were persistent. The UMP Secretary General and the former French head of Government hate each other and think about the 2017 presidential race even if Copé is in advance compared with Fillon which keeps the suspense on his projects. Nonetheless, the one as the other are clearly aware of the fact it is almost compulsory to get the head of the ex-ruling party to impose himself as the national leader of a movement completely disoriented since the defeat of Nicolas Sarkozy, the last 6th of May.

Rachida Dati, former minister of Justice (2007 – 2009), current MEP, and Jean-François Copé in 2011

To reach this objective, everyone is starting to gather his camp and put his supporters forward. For instance, Jean-François Copé counts on the main personalities of the ex-presidential party (as Valérie Pécresse, ex-minister of Budget and government spokesperson, François Baroin, ex-minister of Finances and Brice Hortefeux) whereas Fillon bets on his nice image in the opinion to win in fine. This is also a way to compensate his absence of network inside the UMP, in order to influence the activists on their final choice.

Questioning the truce which was existing within the UMP, François Fillon clearly expresses his intentions forcing Jean-François Copé to take some risks and calling him bluff. The UMP Secretary General is aware of this and play for high stakes for the legislative elections which the final outcome for his party are determining his political future in a short term but also in long one especially. If the UMP gets an “honourable defeat”, Jean-François Copé will remain as the head of the party and will be able to introduce himself as the new leader of the French republican Right for 2017. If the ex-ruling party experiences a huge defeat after the legislatives, François Fillon will be regarded as an alternative and be in a better position, enjoying to tackle to a best enemy to kill him better politically speaking.